It's almost the end of the rainy season in Thailand, and that means Loy Krathong is right around the corner, a festival that traditionally celebrates the goddess of water and the last days of the rice harvest. Every year it also sees thousands of candle-lit lanterns released into waterways and the sky around the country.
Though they're undeniably beautiful to look at, the lanterns are apparently a major hazard for aircraft landing and taking off from Thai airports, causing delays and cancelations when people disregard lantern-free zones near airports. This year, authorities in the northern region of Chiang Mai have decided to evade the problem by canceling or delaying more than 100 flights, the Bangkok Post reports.
Last year, the government threatened anyone releasing lanterns too close to airports (they set up an exclusion zone) with the death penalty, the Guardian reported.
“Releasing paper lanterns near airports can be very dangerous to the safety of aircraft and it is a criminal offence,” Police Major General Amnuay Nimmano told Reuters. “Those who violate the law will be dealt with accordingly and could face life in prison or the death penalty.”
The festival will be celebrated next week, Nov. 24–26.