Yi Peng Lantern Festival (sometimes written as Yee Peng) in Chiang Mai is world-famous for its enchanting sight of thousands of lit lanterns rising into the night's sky over Chiang Mai.
We've put together all things you need to know about this romantic festival in Chiang Mai.
1. What is Yi Peng Lantern Festival?
Yi Peng Lantern Festival is an ancient festive event tracing back to the ancient Lanna Kingdom (in the late 13th Century). It was traditionally celebrated to mark the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of the cool season. It is also one of the ancient traditions to honor Buddha in order to gain merit.
The main highlight of the festival is the release of thousands of paper lanterns, known as "khom loi", into the night sky. This act is believed to bring good luck and symbolize the release of worries and negative elements, while also making merit or offering prayers to deities or ancestors.
This joyous festival is predominantly celebrated in northern Thailand, with the largest celebrations held in Chiang Mai where Yi Peng coincides with the nationally celebrated Loy Krathong Festival (the famous Thailand Lights Festival).
2. When is the Yee Peng Lantern Festival 2024 in Chiang Mai?
In 2024, the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival will be held on November 15-16th, 2024.
Yi means 'two' and Peng means 'full moon day', which refers to the date of this celebration. It takes place on the full moon night of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar (usually in November in the Western calendar).
3. How do Thai people celebrate Yi Peng Lantern Festival?
The most popular practice to celebrate the festival is the launch of khom loi, or lanterns, into the night sky. Each year, there are several venues to hold mass lantern releases, such as the famous Chiang Mai CAD, attracting an immense crowd eager to witness the captivating spectacle.
Tickets for Chiang Mai CAD 2024 are on sale now – reserve your spot today! Join the 10,000+ clients from around the world who have trusted us to make their festival dreams come true.
Since 2019, we've proudly held the position of Premium Partner with Chiang Mai CAD, and we're thrilled to be the largest agent for premium tickets for 2024, offering an unparalleled selection. (Notably, Chiang Mai CAD does not have an official website, and all ticket sellers are agents, with us proudly being one of the largest among them.)
Here are the prices for three kinds of tickets. Premium tickets are most recommended, as you will get closest to the stage and the chanting monks, enjoy exclusive services with a dedicated photographer, and indulge in a buffet dinner at a designated special food zone.
- Premium ticket + transfer + dinner: US$ 199
- VIP ticket + transfer + dinner: US$ 169
- Standard ticket + transfer + dinner: US$ 129
Get your festival tickets now and enjoy the magical atmosphere of floating lanterns.
Besides lantern release, there are plenty of activities that happen all over Chiang Mai during the festival. These include worship rituals, decoration contests, bazaars, traditional Thai dance shows, the official 'Yee Peng Parade', live music, and handicraft sessions. You can also expect lots of food vendors setting up, firecrackers, and fireworks.
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4. What does the lantern release symbolize?
Yi Peng is not merely a visual spectacle; it is a tapestry of rituals and customs that infuse the festival with deeper meaning.
Lanterns (โคมลอย, khom loi) symbolize good luck, health, prosperity, or fortune. These delicate lanterns are crafted from rice paper and bamboo frames. People often write their hopes, dreams, and wishes on the lanterns.
Buddhists release the lanterns as a way to pay homage to Lord Buddha and follow the teachings of enlightenment. It is also seen as an act of letting go of past troubles and embracing positivity. As these lanterns ascend, they are believed to carry away negativity and bring good fortune for the future. If your lantern disappears into the dark before the light goes out, you will have an extremely good year.
Additionally, the lantern release signifies the unity and community spirit of the Thai people.
5. Why is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival celebrated?
The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is celebrated to mark the full moon of the twelfth month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, usually falling in November. This festival holds great cultural and spiritual significance in Northern Thailand, particularly in the city of Chiang Mai.
This festival is celebrated as a way to release negative energy and wish for good luck and good fortune in the coming year. It is also one of the ancient traditions to honor Buddha in order to gain merit.
In addition to its spiritual and cultural significance, the Yi Peng Lantern Festival is also celebrated to mark the end of the rainy season or monsoon season in Northern Thailand.
6. Any other places to experience the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai?
Apart from the mass lantern releases, there are many other places to join the festival. You can go to the Ping River, Three Kings Monument, and Thapae Gate.
- Nawarat Bridge on the Ping River: This is where most of the Chiang Mai locals go to release their krathong floating lanterns on the nearby Ping River.
- Three Kings Monument: It is the place where the majority of activities take place. You can watch a candle-lighting ceremony and a Buddhist worship ritual.
- Thapae Gate: It is the place where many of the festival parades take place.
Besides lantern releases, you can experience many cultural activities, including worship rituals, decoration contests, bazaars, and traditional Thai dance shows.
7. What's the origin of Yi Peng?
Yi Peng Festival was adapted from Brahmin origins and is closely associated with the Thai Lanna culture.
Deeply rooted in Buddhism, some people believe the Yi Peng Lantern Festival originated in India with the legend of the candle-carrying bird which once visited the Gautama Buddha and spoke to him about merit. In Thailand, paying respect to Buddha is regarded as a way to be reborn into the next life to enjoy great popularity and purity.
8. What is the difference between the Yi Peng Festival and Loy Krathong?
One major difference is that during Loy Krathong raft-like krathong lanterns made from banana leaves are released to float on rivers and lakes whereas during Yi Peng bamboo paper Khom Loi lanterns are released into the sky.
Loy Krathong is celebrated all across Thailand while Yi Peng is celebrated mainly in northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai.
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