CHIANG MAI – Restrictions have been imposed on the release of all kinds of lanterns during this year’s Yi Peng Festival to be held on Nov 13-15 in this northern province.

Provincial governor Pawin Chamniprasart  announced the restrictions, which he said were in the interests of public and aviation safety.

He said this year’s Yi Peng Festival, which usually features cultural activities including traditional Loy Krathong and the release of sky lanterns, will also be toned down in respect for the passing of King Bhumibol.

On the night of Nov 14, Loy Krathong night, hot air lanterns can be released from 7pm to 1am the following day.  They can also be released on  Nov 15 from 7pm to 1am.

The restrictions will also apply to the night of Dec 31, New Year’s eve.

The announcement said the lanterns must be made from natural materials. The maximum size should not exceed one cubic metre, with the diameter not exceeding 90 centimetres, and should be no more than 140cm high. A lantern should contain no more than 55 grammes of fuel, made with paper coated with wax or paraffin, capable of burning no longer than eight minutes.

Under the announcement, people who want to float lanterns into the sky are required to first obtain permission from the local district chief.

People found releasing lanterns outside the given time and permitted areas are liable to a maximum penalty of three years in jail and/or a fine of 60,000 baht.

Sales of all kinds of lanterns in temples or public places are also prohibited without the permission of the district chief.

Betting on lanterns is also banned.