You may ask yourself, what does it mean to release all these lanterns into the night sky? Well, it is based on Thailand’s Loi Krathong Festival, where lit floating lanterns, boats and ornaments are set adrift on the rivers to honor Buddha, creating good luck and rid oneself of anger and negative thoughts. And also to thank the Hindu Goddess of water, Phra Mae Khongkha, for assisting with provision of the most basic of all human necessities. In the northern town of Chiang Mai, locals created what is known as Yi Peng Festival. Here the lanterns are adorned with prayers and good luck wishes before being released into the sky, creating a magical twinkling flurry of lights. And so the concept of RISE Festival was adopted.
I have attended all three festivals here in Las Vegas from 2014-2016. The first year was part of a team building retreat for the board members of the local chapter of AMTA, American Massage Therapy Association, where I was the treasurer. It was so wonderful to see everyone coming together, people getting married, letting go of sad times and uniting to celebrate life.
When I lost Angel in 2015, it was part of my healing and bereavement to create a beautiful lantern for her. I decorated it with some of my favorite photos, cute little stickers and wrote little blurbs of love everywhere. It was my way of honoring her, letting her know how much I loved her and missed her. And it was also a very important step for me in my deep and dark grief. The warm flickering light inside the lantern lit up her pretty face and she felt so present. This moment represented the unprecedented emotional bond we shared and always will. As I watched the lantern rise into the beautiful night sky, I knew it would get just a little closer to heaven, just a little closer to Angel. And as tears were streaming down my face, I felt a sense of relief. I will treasure that memory forever.
In 2016, I decorated a lantern to manifest this new venture, Angel PawPrint. The name is a representation of the unforgettable paw print Angel left on my heart with the analogy of an actual angel. And with Our Ambassador King Von Nugget by my side, I feel inspired, motivated and determined. The sky IS the limit! And to attend this festival is such an immense learning experience, both about yourself and others. Add it to your bucket list, you will not regret it!