It’s a gazillion degrees in Bangkok, in Celsius, yet. I can’t even imagine snow. I forgot what it looks like. When I see friends’ posts about it on FB? I cringe. Yet today is the day when everyone in Thailand acts like Elsa in the movie Frozen, singing Let it Go. But without snowflakes hanging on our eyelashes. That’s because a cool 32 degrees in Bangkok is 90 degrees F. And it’s also that’s what Loy Krathong is about, letting go of the bad and starting new.

Loy Krathong, also known as the “The Festival of Lights,” is a lunar calendar holiday, meaning, it’s a bit like Thanksgiving, the date changing each year. It happens in the twelfth lunar month, on the evening of the full moon, which is usually in November.

Let it go with the wind and the sky!

In Chang Mai, about an eleven-hour bus drive north of Bangkok–or even longer on the train–don’t ask me why–the holiday is celebrated with huge paper lanterns floating in the sky. But in the city infamous for its “more-than” massage parlors, go-go bars and streetwalkers who let you guess their pronouns? Sins are washed away down the river.

Traveler’s tip? Drink the bottle stuff while in town.

Everyone dresses up for Loy Krathong, except for tourists in their SAME-SAME T-shirts and cops in their tighter-than-tight brown uniforms.

Note: The above photo was taken the day before the festival, when I stumbled into a food hand-out area. The lines for ten-pound bags of rice were serpentine, the poverty palpable. But on Loy Krathong? Everyone shares their burdens. The cops set sparklers ablaze by lending their lighters.

Before the fun, folks put on the Thai version of traditional Sunday best– better known as chut Thai ชุดไทย. Kids wear them without complaining, and they look as itchy as the frilly Easter dresses we had to wear back-in-the-day. Everyone heads to the wats (Thai word for temple) to pray and give monks gifts.

Gift packages for monks include a new saffron Kāṣāya or robe; face masks, hand sanitizer, and cookies. It’s like a travel gift set you get for buying a lot of fancy cosmetics at Macy’s, minus the shampoo because monks don’t need it. I doubt it there is any cannabis in their gift packs, either.

After a stop at the temple, everyone heads to the canals where negative vibes are float away in lantern boats made from banana leaves and colorful versions of Cheeto’s. Many children make their lanterns themselves, which is why colorful chunks of their prized creations crumble into the river.

I purchased my floating lantern at a local market. It wasn’t just for me, but for so many friends who are carrying heavy loads, hoping that they could be released, lightened, forgiven or forgotten. Lives lost before they were lived. I “Let it Go” at a local festival around near Wat Saket, in a blue-collar area of Bangkok. I bought the one lantern with the big blue flower, not one made with Cheetos.

At night, parents joined their children to “let it go” all over the city. This father uses a long bamboo pole to slide his daughter’s lanterns into the local canal.

So what happens after we let it all go?

Will our lives as picture-perfect as the show about Lay Krathong on the Travel Channel with the pristine aqua blue river? Yeah, right.

Our lives will still be a bit broken, but somehow, beautiful in their own way. Our lives aren’t Disney movies. But God collects are tears and turns them into snowflakes, which Walt Disney will turn into a movie, but each beautiful one once a sad story.

As for the lanterns?

The lizards will eat them by morning (I saw five of these bad boys, by the way).

But one day a year? We can let it go.

So that bad karma? Let it go!

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