Let It Snow
Dec. 21, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Paul Terhorst celebrates Christmas in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." The song reminds us of Christmas, yet snow comes only in the north. Most of the world has never seen snow. Most of the world listens to "Frosty the Snowman" without the slightest idea what the song is about.
Vicki and I will celebrate Christmas this year in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a small group of American and Thai friends. Thais, Westerners, and others, mainly Chinese, will enjoy the party even though Thais lack a Christmas tradition and snow.
When Vicki and I first started coming to Chiang Mai, back in the 1980s, Thais would hang "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year" signs on restaurants and guesthouses. The signs looked so pretty many Thais left them up year round. Thailand remains mostly Buddhist, without a Christmas holiday. But they care a lot about pretty decorations.
One year the owner of our guesthouse even stuck cotton in his palm trees. "Snow," he told me.
This year Christmas started in earnest in early November, right after the Loi Krathong festival. During Loi Krathong, Thais make hand-size floats (krathongs) and push them into the river, with a candle and perhaps money stuck inside. Sending the float downriver is seen as sending troubles away. Similarly, on Loi Krathong, Thais send up 3-foot-tall hot-air sky lanterns to lift troubles from their shoulders.