Loy Krathong is soon upon us, but there are few signs to indicate there is going to be much excitement this year over the annual festival.
Traditionally many homes and businesses will hang up lanterns, light candles, build banana leaf gates and add a festive flair to their doors and fence. This year, there is hardly a sign to be seen anywhere in the city that Yi Peng is nearly here.
Every year a great number of people make a good living off the festival, selling fireworks, lanterns, krathongs and other paraphernalia of the event. Muang Satorn, Nong Hoi, is one such community which has long been producers of such products, the annual haul seeing many households financially secure for many months, if not the entire year.
CityNews went to visit the community and learned that things are grim. While the shops are overflowing with colourful products, there are hardly any sales, said many vendors.
“This the quietest I have ever seen it,” said Nongnuj Jaimook, 67, owner of a lantern shop in the community. “There have been a few orders coming in here and there, but the orders are fairly small. We always have hope, so we have a full stock, we just need people to come and order them. Our flying lanterns are hardly selling at all, with strict regulations by the government, but we are managing to sell a few decorative ones. Anything costing around 10-20 baht we can just about sell, but nothing costing more than that.”
Nongjuj said that sales have dropped to about a quarter of most year’s.