———— Loy Kratong and the Second Annual Loy Katoy Show at the Park ————
Posted by Elephant Nature Foundation on December 17, 2009
Loy Kratong is one of Thailand's most beautiful festivals and is a favorite time of year at Elephant Nature Park. It is Loy Kratong tradition in Chiang Mai to have many beauty contests, so we decided to have our own here at the Park. This year will definitely go down in the Park history books as the most glamorous celebration to date! Last year two of our mahouts and a few of our male volunteers agreed to dress up as ladies for the first annual "Loy Katoy" show.
Though the first show was a success, the participation was much greater this year with eight mahouts, one volunteer coordinator, and over 10 volunteers, all of whom bravely offered to be made up as ladies purely for the entertainment of the rest of the volunteers, staff and overnight guests. What entertainment it was! The winner was Titay, Thai's mahout. With his petite build, his "shy girl" personality, and his cute head wrap and neck boa, he played his role to the fullest, wooing the crowd. He won by a landslide.
We want to thank all of the male participants for not being afraid to put on ladies clothes and have a good laugh at themselves, especially our mahouts whom for sure this was an out-of-the-ordinary activity! A special thanks also goes out to Lisa, a volunteer who was here on an extended stay. Without Lisa and her "European fashion wardrobe" all of this glamour wouldn't have been possible. Lisa selflessly offered up her dresses to the participating mahouts to be stretched out and sweated in (some of which were never the same afterwards), all for the sake of a good time.
After the Loy Katoy show, all went out to the river to float the beautiful kratongs that were handmade by our lovely massage ladies and to send off the traditional kom loy (hot air lanterns). Hilariously, some of our mahouts chose not to change out of their "festive" wear for the remainder of the night. Once they got into character, they seemed to have fun with it.
On this evening we had a full house between regular volunteers, a group of student volunteers from a international school in Krabi (whose male students incidentally, made great katoys as well), a few overnighters and staff. Over 100 kom loy were sent off that night. The sky was alight with the full moon and the glowing lanterns. It was a beautiful sight. Everyone slept well that night after an evening filled with fun and laughter.