“Loy” means to float in Thai. Alongside the floating vessels, decorative lanterns (Kome) also became part of this tradition. There are four different purposes for the Northern Thais to hang lanterns. They are for beauty, to pay respect to Buddha images, to make one’s home brighter, and for propitious reasons. The four main northern traditional Komes are: (1) Kome thuea (carrying lantern) or Kome gratai; (2) Kome kwaen (hanging lantern); (3) Kome paad (revolving lantern); and (4) Kome Loy (hot air floating lantern).
The Kome Loy is a drum-size lantern similar to a hot-air-balloon. It is made of lightweight rice paper to be able to float in the air, and in order to send it up, a method to heat the air is included by tying a small receptacle underneath the open section of the lantern. Oil is then placed with a cotton cloth. As the oil catches fire and burns, hot air quickly fills the lantern and it soon rises into the air.”
This would make a great event at a future Ephemerisle.
meredith was in town last weekend, so we went to the 8th Annual Fire Arts Festival in Oakland. (Note to self: when meeting a woman for the first time, don’t park in the empty underground parking garage.)
We arrived just as the gates opened, and the place was soon packed. The announcer said that over 2000 people were there that night.
My favorite exhibit was the Fire Vortex. Two guys dressed in silver flame retardant suits stood across from each other. Each held a long metal wand, from which they could shoot an aerosolized mist of fuel. Between them was a large ducted fan, which created a strong vortex of air. They would fire fuel from the wands into the vortex, and light the mist on fire, creating a tornado of fire.
My second favorite? The Omega Recoil, which consisted of a man dressed in a full body Faraday cage. He writhed underneath a giant inverted Tesla coil, which shot lighting bolts into his suit.
Meredith and I climbed up through the center of the Steampunk Treehouse. The Festival was held in view of the BART, and every time one passed, you could see the passengers looking out the window to watch the exhibits. It made quite a lovely tableau, with the crowds writhing around the burning fire exhibits, as a lighted train filled with passengers passed slowly along on the risers above.