On November 17th, the Loi Krathong Festival 2013 was celebrated at the sixth teaching building of GDUFS, where Thai teachers and students from 26 Chinese universities and colleges enjoyed fantastic shows and numerous fun activities.
The Loi Krathong Festival (also written as Loy Krathong or Loy Kratong), is traditional and the most significant festival in Thailand. It is celebrated annually on December15th as calculated in the Thai lunar calendar (this date usually falls in November on western calendars) throughout the country. Legend has it that in the 13th century, the Sukhothai Dynasty in Thai history, the royal imperial concubines folded banana leaves into lotus-shaped boats, decorated them with flowers and set them drifting downstream so as to pray to dispel possible disasters.
GDUFS students were fortunate to be able to experience such a facet of Thai culture, including delicious native foods and amazing performances, without having to go abroad The activity consisted of six parts: Making Krathong; Thai food and game stalls; a beauty contest to select Miss Krathong; dancing performances; a lottery section and a traditional parade of releasing Krathong on the Xiangsi River on the GDUFS campus.
Krathong:Lotus-shaped boat with lit candle
Jointly organized by GDUFS and the Royal Thai Consulate General in Guangzhou, the Loi Krathong Festival has received great support from Thai Air Asia, which offered a round-trip ticket from Guangzhou to Thailand for the lottery section. Mrs.Suphatra Seemaitreephitak, Consul-General of the Royal Thai Consulate General in Guangzhou and Mr. FANG Fanquan, Vice President of GDUFS, attended the opening ceremony and both sides shared the opinion that the annual event would promote good relations between China and Thailand as well as facilitating cultural communications and cooperation.
Mrs.Suphatra Seemaitreephitak and Mr. FANG Fanquan cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremony
What captured the most attention was the beauty contest to select Miss Krathong held in the lecture hall. There were eleven participants from universities in Guangdong Province, including five GDUFS students majoring in Thai language and culture. All contestants showed their unique charms and wisdom through their self-introductions and the quiz section. After the spirited competition, LUO Haiyun, a GDUFS student, won first prize based on her broad and profound knowledge of Thai culture.
The top three Miss Krathong contestants (LUO Haiyun in the middle)
In addition, the dances performed by GDUFS students were a huge success. Students dressed in Thai costumes shone brilliantly on the stage, smiling and performing the Thai traditional dance, winning bursts of applause from the audience. During the break of the performances was the Thai knowledge quiz. When the lottery section arrived, it was the most exciting moment with everybody holding their breath and waiting for the Thai AirAsia CEO to announce the lucky winner. Finally a student from GDUFS won the prize, a round-trip ticket from Guangzhou to Bangkok!
Delicate Krathongs interest numerous guests
As the sun went down, people moved to the Xiangsi River to release their Krathongs. They lit the candle on their Krathong and gently put them down on the river. Loaded with people's wishes and blessings, the Krathongs began to float downriver with the current. The belief being that, if the Krathong floats away from you, the coming year will bring good fortune, if it floats back towards the shore, then perhaps your luck may not be quite as you had wished. As more Krathongs were being released, the Xiangsi River became lively with the beautiful flower boats and candlelight. You can't imagine how spectacular it was!
People pray for good fortune before releasing the Krathongs
Next year, let's come and join in the "not to be missed" event again!