Yi Peng Festival
Lanna Tradition – Northern Thailand
The Yipeng or Dueanyi Festival comes from the word “yi” in Lanna referring to the “second lunar month” and “peng” means “full moon night”. Thus, “yipeng” refers to the full moon night/day of the second lunar month, which falls on the full moon period of the 12th month of Central Thailand. The Lanna calendar is the lunar calendar, like the Chinese calendar. Therefore, it is two months ahead of the first month in the Central Thai Calendar. The Yipeng Festival marks a happy time for Lanna people during the rice harvest and golden fields around the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the cold season. The sky is clear blue when children enjoy flying kites. At the advent of the full moon of “duean yi” the earsplitting sound of firecrackers and other fireworks resound in the atmosphere.
Monks and novices engage in making floating lanterns to be launched on the occasion. All these activities indicate the arrival of Yipeng time of year.
In the nighttime of the Yipeng Festival, the whole village glistens with the hundreds of burning candles (phang prathip) placed around such places stairways, windows, the granary as well as lanterns hung up in front of houses and arched gates of most houses. Sometimes lanterns are hung on both sides of the main roads.
At the temples, monks are preaching the grand sermon of Maha Chat and there are also decoration of arch-shaped ceremonial gates with flags and banners as a well as a maze. The main temple hall (vihan) is lined with banners relating the account of the Vessandon (the Tenth Bodhisattva). Outside, around the open space of the temple, people light fireworks to pay respect to the five Buddhas: Kokusantha, Konakhama, Kassapa, Sakayamuni and Ariyamettai.