At the end of November, on the 12th full moon of each year, the mountainous region of northern Thailand is filled with light.
Throughout the two day festival of Loy Karathong, residents and tourists alike release thousands of glowing lanterns above the city of Chiang Mai and place floating candles into the Peng River. The millions of lights that surround the city symbolize the letting go of all one's hatred, anger, and past transgressions.
While the sky is set ablaze with glowing lanterns, those same lanterns will eventually burn out and fall upon telephone wires. And as the floating candles illuminate the river, the baskets carrying them wash ashore by the thousands. It is an awe-inspiring celebration that conjures up unmistakeable contrasts. Decay and beauty. Darkness and light. The reminder of human suffering and the hope of salvation from it.