Patcharin Jongjai 2018/12/22 , ( 395 views)
22 November 2018, the Office of International Relations (IR) organized the Thanks-Krathong event where international staff and students were invited to connect and get to know one another, have a mini Thanksgiving lunch together, and learn how to make their own Krathongs by using natural materials such as banana leaves, banana trunks and flowers. Not only was the international community present, but some Thai students of UBU who serve as ambassadors to the IR Office also joined in on the festivities! They were quite helpful in engaging all of the guests and assisting during the Krathong making workshop with their high levels of expertise.
This year was truly special as it held two widely-celebrated holidays on the same day from two different cultures. With this, the IR Office was able to easily combine the two different celebrations into one event. This allowed for the participants to learn more about each other’s culture while also getting a taste of how the holiday is typically celebrated in one’s respective culture.
Thanksgiving in the United States is typically celebrated on the fourth Thursday of each November. Family and friends get together to spend time with one another, make and eat delicious food, and share what they are thankful for while also prepping for the New Year.
Loy Krathong is an annual festival in Thailand that is typically celebrated on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. The aims of the event are to thank and pay respect to the goddess of water called Pra Mae Khongkha for providing us water, and to pay respect to the Buddha. Moreover, Loy Krathong is believed to be a symbol of letting sadness and unhappiness floating away to the water.
Moreover, there were more than 30 Thai and International staff and students who attended the event! Some said that in their own culture, Thanksgiving was not celebrated but they were grateful to have it with the individuals during the event. Furthermore, some have also mentioned that they have never made a Krathong before and were very delighted to join the Loy Krathong workshop and festivities.
James K. Powell II, one of the new English Consultants at the Faculty of Liberal Arts stated that he has never made a Krathong before but his wife, Gerd, who also attended the event, knew exactly what to do! When further asked about his thoughts of the event in general, he eloquently stated, “I thought the Loy Krathong party (Thanks-Krathong event) was a lovely way to get to know our highly diverse and most competent faculty and staff. The atmosphere was so very positive and interesting also. It was a great way to gain "community awareness competencies" as I like to say. I thought the organization was superb and the leadership, excellent.” Many others have expressed a similar enjoyment of the event. However, since it was James’s personal first time joining an event organized by the IR Office, he also mentioned that meeting the people was the best part. The international community here at UBU so far is the most diverse and interesting he has seen.
All in all, the IR Office could not have not been happier to be a part of many people’s first time experiences for these two holidays! Food is always a great way to bring people together, and for it to be many people’s first time making Krathongs, the Krathongs turned out so beautiful and amazing right in time for the Loy Krathong Festival!