Prepare yourself for Loy Krathong, one of Thailand’s most enchanting annual festivals, which falls on 22 November this year
Every year, the Loy Krathong Festival is celebrated throughout Thailand -and neighbouring countries- on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional lunar calendar. On that night, Thais launch their krathong on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as they do so.
The krathong is a small lotus-shaped floating receptacle traditionally made of banana leaves and banana trunks.
Thai people believe that the Loy Krathong festival may have several purposes such as to ask for forgiveness “Pra Mae Khongkha, the goddess of water, for any misdeeds against her, to worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River beach in India, and to fly away misfortune and bad things.
The krathong may hold a small portion of goods like a traditional Thai dish or dessert and it is decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, three incense sticks, and a candle. A small coin is sometimes included as an offering to the river spirits.
Loy Krathong coincides with the northern festival known as Yi Peng which is meant as a time to make merit and is celebrated with floating lanterns.
There are many destinations known for their unique Loy Krathong traditions. Here are the main ones:
Sukhothai Loy Krathong and Candle Festival 2018, 16-25 November, commemorates the glorious era of the Sukhothai period with the magnificent Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the setting for the festival’s activities. See more details here.
Tak Loy Krathong Sai Festival 2018, 18-22 November, is famous for its Loy Krathong Sai or the floating of a long line of coconut shell krathongs. See more details here.
Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival 2018, 20-23 November, celebrates traditions and activities that are unique to the Lanna people and their culture. See more details here.
Lampang Ngan Sapao Chao Lakon 2018, 21-23 November, is the only location in Northern Thailand that still makes ‘long sapao’ or floats junk-like krathongs. See more details here.
Roi Et “Somma Nam Khuen Pheng Seng Prathip” 2018, 21-22 November, is one of the province’s most important Buddhist events that celebrates the history and culture unique to the Saket Nakhon (former name of Roi Et) people. See more details here.
Ratchaburi Loi Krathong Si Festival 2018, 22-24 November, at Wat Sai Ari Rak, celebrates traditions and activities that are unique to the Mon people living along the Mae Klong River, including floating krathong cups made from eco-friendly colour paper and taking part in Buddhist ceremonies to pay respect to the Buddha.
Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Loy Krathong Festival 2018, 22 November, at King Naresuan the Great Monument near Thung Phu Khao Thong, hosts several activities including a krathong-making contest, beauty contests, cultural performances and a moon-bathing ritual to bring good fortune.
This year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will host a special event in Samut Songkhram province, west of Bangkok. “Loy Krathong Kap Kluai” (Krathong Kap Kluai are banana stem cups) will take place from 21 to 23 November at two venues – Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong on 21 and 22 November and at the King Rama II Memorial Park on 23 November.
The festival’s programme features traditional, cultural and environmentally-friendly activities – in line with TAT’s responsible tourism initiatives – that include floating of Krathong Kap Kluai on the Mae Klong River, cultural performances and processions. See more details here.