An Expat in Thailand: Celebrating Holidays Abroad

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 😀

As an expat teaching abroad, this will be my second year celebrating Thanksgiving away from home.

Luckily, in Thailand, this American holiday coincided with the Thai holiday of Loy Krathong.

Loy Krathong translates as ‘to float a boat’, and is one of the most picturesque holidays in Bangkok. 😀

Essentially, people will float a delicate and decorative boat down the river, as an offering to water goddess. It pays tribute to the water received that year, since water is essential for the community’s livelihood and agricultural success.

To kick things off, Bangkok hosted River Festival, which was held at various venues in Bangkok, all situated along the Chao Phraya River.

To the river with love ❤

For the festival, I took a complimentary ferry along the river to visit a few sites and take part in the festivities. 🙂DSC_0408

Wat Prayoon: built during the reign of King Mongkut’s elder brother, the ruler featured in The King and I.

DSC_0380Asiatique: one of the main venues for River Fest, an open-aired mall with shops, entertainment and plenty of street eats.DSC_0415

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Go-kart racing
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Outdoor market with Thai cuisine
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Jumbo prawns- just missing a little cocktail sauce 🙂
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‘Kanom Buang’ or savory Thai crepes, filled with minced shrimp, coconut, peanuts and raisins
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Kanom Buang, sweet Thai crepe, filled with shredded coconut and a sticky sweet syrup
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‘Siopao’ or steamed buns, filled with ground pork

Loy Krathong Holiday

On the actual holiday, November 25th, Assumption College had a huge celebration, where the children dressed in traditional Thai costumes, danced, and floated their own krathongs in a kiddie-pool, near the playground. 🙂
DSC_0508I had to compete with oodles of teachers and parents taking videos of the dances, but I did manage to get a few clips. 🙂

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Preparing to float their krathongs or homemade boats, made with a banana tree trunk, and decorated with banana leaves, flowers, incense and a candle.
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Children dressed in traditional Thai clothing, floating krathongs with the help of the Brothers, or founders of Assumption College (dressed in white)
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Apparently, Hawaiian shirts are also acceptable dress 😛
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Of course, it turned into a bit of a splash fest with the kids 😛

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Gorgeous handmade origami krathong
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Traditional krathong, made from folded banana leaves and banana tree trunk (Note: loaves of colored bread are also commonly used as krathongs, though soggy bread is not as photogenic) Haha. 😛

On the night of Loy Krathong, I headed to Lumpini Park to watch everyone float their decorative boats on the lake.

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Lumpini Park and the gorgeous Bangkok city skyline

krathongI guess the water goddess heard our thanks and prayers, since the event got rained-on for a large portion of the night. Hah. 😛

Luckily, I did manage to get a few shots in-between sprinkles. 🙂

krathong 2
Side note: some krathongs may also carry a lock of hair or fingernail clippings as a way to send away all the bad spirits in your life and insure a new beginning 😀

Thanksgiving Holiday

Now, when faced with the dilemma of what to do on Thanksgiving while living abroad, I contemplated three options:

Option 1: Try to re-create a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. 

Although I did manage to find a box of stove-top and a can of creamed corn at the super market, I’d be hard-pressed to find a turkey in Thailand, that’s for sure. 😛Option 2: Forget about Thanksgiving dinner entirely. 😦

Miss out on the chance to enjoy a good meal? No way! 😀Option 3: Adapt and embrace a non-traditional Thanksgiving. 

Well, due to last years successful non-traditional Thanksgiving, feasting on homemade chicken noodle soup and sipping wine with three Mexican bikers, I decided to give option 3 another try. 😀28846789653_c49edebdce_bThis time around, I went with my Irish, British and Canadian co-workers to Himali Cha-Cha for a tasty Indian meal.
DSC_0038[1]This would be their first Thanksgiving celebration, so they were all pretty excited. 😀

We even went around the table to say what we were thankful for. Along with family, friends, health and happiness, I was really thankful they have all been so helpful this past month getting me settled, and welcoming me to Bangkok. 🙂
DSC_0043[1]The gang ordered quite the spread of Indian cuisine, from chicken masala and butter chicken, to dal, saffron rice and garlic naan bread.
DSC_0041[1]DSC_0040[1]DSC_0045[1]After a few beers and a good laugh, we all left sleepy and satisfied. 🙂
Now I’m off to catch a snooze before Skyping with my family at the kitchen table tomorrow morning, what will be dinner time back in America. 😀

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy the feast and have a fantastic night with your families.

Until next time. 🙂

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