Happy New Year, dear family and friends!
Tonight we will celebrate New Year’s as we generally do in Thailand: at a local beach restaurant, eating too much of Som Tam (spicy green papaya salad), Tom Yam Goong (spicy shrimp soup), Kaeng khiao wan (spicy green curry), and other (you guessed it: spicy) dishes.
(And, no doubt, trying to unsuccessfully douse the resulting flames with beer, wine, or fresh coconut juice).
At midnight, we will join Thai and foreigners alike in the tradition of sending a paper lantern, or Kongming Lantern, into the sky. The lanterns are made of oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame. They are fitted with a small candle or similar fuel source whose heat sends the lantern drifting up and across the night sky. Considered to bring good luck and be the symbolic casting away of problems and worries, the sight of all those beautiful lanterns floating across the sky like hundreds of bright fireflies is unforgettable.
So, warmest wishes to you all as you, too, say a final goodbye to 2012 and welcome in 2013 and all its infinite possibilities…to borrow this from a recent well-wisher: May your new year be as perfect and unique as a snowflake.