Friday, October 21, 2005

Flower Arrangements

Basic “Krathong”

KrathongKrathong, the elegant little boat set adrift on waterways during the Loi Krathong Festival (Perhaps the Loveliest of Thai festival Loi Krathong honors the water spirits through the launching of little candlelit boats), belong to the bai-sri category, the base being composed of banana leaves folded to resemble an open lotus blossom. This is then decorated with flowers, incense sticks and lighted candles and sent out as an offering to the water spirits on the sight of the full-moon in the 11th lunar month, usually in late October or early November. In recent years, Krathong have been made of colorful papers arranged around a base of Styrofoam.

Ornate “Krathong”

According to legend, Loy Krathong originated in Sukhothai, as a palace pastime in which royal ladies competed to see who could produce the most spectacular Krathong. The same sense of competition remains today, with some creations towering more than 3 feet high in a variety of fantastic shapes. Prizes are awarded to the most imaginative.


Bai-sri is special creations used in a number of Thai ceremonies. These are based on a structure of deftly folded banana leaves, which are then further adorned with such flowers as jasmine and sometimes food. Bai-sri cham, for instance, has a central banana-leaf cone filled with cooked rice topped by a hard-boiled egg; surrounding it are other cones decorated with various flowers. This is often given as a token of respect by a student to a teacher or student to a tech or presented as a good-luck offering to infants.

“Jad Paan”

Jad Pana, or bowl arrangements, are also called “poom”, because of the traditional rounded pyramidal shape, which resembles a budding lotus. The core, 4 to 8 inches high, is made of moistened earth, sawdust, of Styrofoam. The entire core is tightly embedded with flowers which resemble multi-colored pieces of porcelain. Bowl arrangements are often used in wedding ceremonies, when they are placed beneath the hands of the bride and groom, to receive holy water poured by the guests.

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