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Loy Krathong | The Thailand Festival of Lights

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  • Loy Krathong | The Thailand Festival of Lights

    The Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand

    The dates of these Buddhist festivals change each year, as they follow the traditional lunar calendar. More specifically, they take place on the evening of the full moon during the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar. (This usually falls during the month of November.) Loy Krathong is a celebration of thanks to the gods for the rain and the rice harvest, as well as a chance to repent for the pollution we’ve created in our environment. The historical origins of Loy Krathong are not entirely clear, but this is one of the most important holidays in Thailand. Loy Krathong is the opportunity to atone for one’s sins during the previous year and make a wish for success in the year to come. People will symbolically place a floating krathong* onto the river as they repent and make a wish. If the krathong stays lit until they can no longer see the floating vessel, their wish will come true. Loy Krathong is a festival that is celebrated in many parts of Southeast Asia.
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    Loy Krathong Festival Dates from 2022 - 2030
    2023 November 28 TUE
    2024 November 16 SAT
    2025 November 06 THU
    2026 November 25 WED
    2027 November 14 SUN
    2028 November 02 THU
    2029 November 21 WED
    2030 November 10 SUN

    About Loy Krathong
    Loy Kratong, which translates to “floating banana tree trunk,” is a festival where people gather along Thailand’s riverbanks to float banana trunks. The banana trunks (Krathong) are typically shaped like a lotus and decorated with flowers, incense, candles, personal items, and craft-store buys. The history and reason behind this beautiful festival are complex. It’s believed that Loy Krathong originated in Sukhothai, an ancient city situated around five hours from Bangkok. The festival is not necessarily a religious holiday. For some people, however, it’s a day to pray and give gratitude to the water goddess, Phra Mae Khongkha, as well as to ask for forgiveness for using too much water or for polluting the water as they float their banana trunks into the rivers. Many people also believe that floating Krathong is a symbolic way to brush off bad luck, let go of anger or grudges, and cleanse misdoings and misfortunes from the past to start anew and free of negative feelings. If your candle stays lit until you can’t see your Krathong, it means that you’ll have a year of good luck. If not, well, better luck next time. Thai people traditionally release their Krathong into the rivers and small canals. However, today, people also release the Krathong into a lake or pond. With thousands of lightened banana trunk boats floating down waterways in Thailand, Loy Krathong is definitely one of the most enchanting festivals in the country. Besides releasing Krathong, the festival is also full of many fun performances. You can see and hear fireworks, stroll around streets filled with a lineup of vendors, parades, and even beauty pageants known as “Noppharat Queen Contests.” It’s common to see Thais wearing traditional Thai clothing during the festival.​

    Yi Peng
    Yi Peng is known for the releasing of wish lanterns into the sky. Yi Peng is the festival of lanterns you are most likely familiar with. In preparation for this festival, people create lanterns and hang them outside of their homes and donate them to temples, which represents resisting the darkness and welcoming a brighter future. On the night of the Yi Peng festival, people make a wish and release their own lanterns - khom loy - into the sky. It is said if your lantern stays lit until you can no longer see it, your wish will come true. Yi Peng is a Lanna (Northern Thailand) tradition. In the last few years, some touristy places in the Thai islands have started releasing lanterns to draw more visitors, but the real celebration is in the north of Thailand, specifically in Chiang Mai.

    Day Before the Full Moon
    • Mister and Miss Yi Peng contest
    • Handmade krathong contest, which are floated down the Ping River
    • Ceremony of young monks releasing lanterns at Wat Phan Tao
    • This is also the day locals and travelers release sky lanterns
    • Locals release krathongs (floating boats) into the river
    Day of the the Full Moon
    • Second and last evening to release sky lanterns
    • Final processional through the city. (One of the best spots for viewing this parade-like event is near the East Gate (Pha Thae Gate) where the entire procession will pass right by you. Don’t feel like you have to stay and watch the whole thing, because it can go on for hours!)

  • #2
    Loi Krathong - Thailand's Festival Of Lights
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    The Loi Krathong Festival is one of the most exuberant festivals celebrated in Thailand. The celebrations are a national event in Thailand, and it is sometimes referred to as the 'festival of lights'. The festival is even welcomed in a few neighbouring places outside Thailand under different names such as Tazaungdaing festival in parts of Myanmar, Il Full Moon Poya in Sri Lanka and Bon Om Touk in Cambodia.

    Loi Krathong in Thailand will be celebrated in October | November
    Loi Krathong takes place on a full moon evening of the twelfth month, according to the Thai lunar calendar. The date changes every year, but it usually occurs in October or November, according to the Western calendar. The exact date is usually announced a month in advance.

    What does Loi Krathong mean?
    It means to float. 'Krathong' is used to refer to a small container or basket, which is decorated with banana leaves, flowers, incense sticks and candles. The Krathong is usually made from the cellulose trunk of a banana tree, bread or Styrofoam. The name of the festival thus means 'to float a basket', which is one of the most common forms of its celebration. The idea behind it is to get rid of all your misfortunes and float them away, leading to a fresh start. This allows people to purify their minds and lighten the soul.

    Origin of Loi Krathong
    The origin of Loi Krathong has many stories attached to it. One belief is that since Thai people have a close connection to rivers, this festival allows people to pay respects and worship the river and the river goddess, Pra Mae Khongkha. The people show gratitude for their plentiful water resources and ask for forgiveness for the pollution. Another story links the traditions to a court lady named Nopphamat from Sukhothai about 800 years ago. Several others also believe that it used to be a Brahmanic festival, which was later adapted by Thai Buddhists to worship the Buddha. Loi Krathong is also seen as a time to wash away sins of the past year and welcome good fortune and luck in the coming year. It is a way to let go of one's anger, hatred and negative thoughts.

    Where is Loi Krathong Celebrated in Thailand?
    Although Loi Krathong is celebrated all over Thailand, the festivities are on a larger scale in some places.
    • Sukhothai
      One of the most popular places to celebrate the festival, the celebration of Loi Krathong continues for about five days in Sukhothai. It is often believed to the birthplace of the festival. Besides the floating lights, one can also see alm-giving to Buddhist monks, and a variety of parades, dramas, performances, light and sound shows, beauty contests and more! As the birthplace of Loy Krathong, Sukhothai is an incredible place to experience the festival. This ancient city is where you’ll get the most authentic Loy Krathong experience, making it the perfect place to visit if you want to learn more about the legends and history of the joyful festival. The main event, Sukhotai Loi Krathong and Candle Festival that will take place at Sukhothai Historical Park usually between 29 October to 8 November. You can enjoy amazing firework shows, including Lighting Fire Paniang and Ta Lai. People in Sukhothai celebrate Loy Krathong for over 5 days. Besides the mass release of Krathong, the festival usually features parades, light and sound shows, folk music performances, and a beauty contest.
    • Chiang Mai
      Chiang Mai is the best place to go for a truly mesmerising Loy Krathong Festival experience. Aside from Loy Krathong, the city also holds the Yi Peng Festival on the same day. The Yi Peng Festival, also known as Thailand Sky Lantern Festival, is unique to Northern Thailand. Therefore, you won’t experience the fusion of Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festivals in any other place around the country. In addition to releasing candlelit banana trunks on the water, people also light and float lanterns into the night sky. As a result, you can experience an enchanting scene that looks like something out of a fairytale. One of the best places to celebrate Loy Krathong and Yi Peng in Chiang Mai is by participating in the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival. The festival is held at areas around the Chiang Mai city moat and at the Chiang Mai Municipal Office.
    • Bangkok
      Bangkok is recognised as a great Loi Krathong destination for its number of ponds and waterways to launch the Krathong. Some favourite locations to float your Krathong are the Chao Phraya River, Asiatique riverside, Wat Saket, Lumpini Park and Benjasiri Park. One can enjoy traditional Loi Krathong festival displays, floating processions and fireworks! The city is usually full with festival venues and activities. Even hotels across the city host a Loy Krathong event at their swimming pool area. The main festivities in Bangkok are usually held along the Chao Phraya River. You can join the “Wan Phen Yen Jai” Bangkok River Festival at 10 Landmarks along the Chao Phraya River. These include Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworawihan, Wat Rakhang Kositaram Woramahawihan, Wat Kalayanamit Woramahawihan, Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan, Guan Yu Shrine (Khlong San), Tha Maharaj, The LHONG 1919, Asiatique The Riverfront, and SOOKSIAM at ICONSIAM. Another top event is the Santi Chai Prakan Public Park. The festival, called The Delightful Colours of The River. Besides these two, you can find Loy Krathong festivals practically everywhere around the city. From Lumphini Park to Ramitra Sports Park.
    • Rayong
      Head to Phra Chedi Kalng Nam if you want to experience Loy Krathong in the Rayong province. There’ll be traditional red robe ceremony where participants walk around Phra Chedi Klang Nam 3 times before clothing the pagoda. Looking for something full of music and fun? Visit the Loi Krathong Festival at Wat Mae Nam Khu Mai between 30 October and 8 November. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in Thai music concerts, including Thai country music, Thai modern songs, and Thai folk songs. In addition, there’ll be beauty pageant, delicious food, and many other activities.​​​
    • Phuket
      Most of the major beaches in Phuket enjoy large crowds as they participate in the Loi Krathong celebrations, including places like Nai Harn Lake, Patong Beach, Saphan Hin Park and Suan Luang Park. Other places in Thailand such as Tak and Ayutthaya are also recognised for their vast celebrations, including musical and cultural performances, as well as some competitions and contests.
    How is Loi Krathong Celebrated?
    As the full moon begins to rise, thousands flock to the nearest beach or seashore to release their Krathong into the water. The body of water becomes illuminated with thousands of lights, indeed a sight to behold. The release of the Krathong is done to promote good fortune, with the belief that if the Krathong floats away, then the coming year will be filled with success and happiness. People often place personal items, such as coins or nail clippings, on the Krathong, as an offering to the river spirits. Even large corporations and government offices launch krathongs into the water. The annual festival is celebrated with many rituals at the Buddhist temples in the region. Makeshift steps are constructed in several rivers or water body areas to allow people to enter the water. One can see many stalls selling food, beverages and readymade krathongs. The festival also includes some activities, such as boat races, lantern processions and parades. Fireworks have also become common in the past few years. Beauty contests are also held, where the winner was crowned the title "Queen of Beauty" or 'Nang Noppamas'. Years ago, Nang Noppamas was the noble companions of the King of Siam, who initiated the festival. The celebration of Loi Krathong coincides with the Lanna (or Northern Thailand) festival, Yi Peng or the 'lantern festival'. Its festivities involve lantern parades, colourful hanging lantern decorations in houses and temples and a release of lanterns into the night sky. However, the law allows people to release their sky lanterns or 'khom loy' only at a specific time and date.

    How to Release a Krathong in the Water?
    Head down to the stalls near a river or water body to pick out a Krathong you like or you can even make your own! Follow the locals to the river-bank, where you can light the candles and the incense sticks as soon as you are ready to release it. Make a wish, gently push the Krathong into the water and watch it float away.

    Tips to Enjoy Loi Krathong
    • Opt for the Krathong made of the banana trunk or bread, rather than styrofoam, as they are biodegradable and thus, more eco-friendly.
    • Try to walk to the events during the festival, so that you can avoid traffic.
    • If you plan on visiting a temple, buy the Krathong after you finish.
    • Do not wear any revealing clothes if you wish to visit the temples.
    • Bring a lighter with you to light the candles and incense sticks.
    • Be respectful and careful of your surroundings; the festival is a religious and spiritual one.
    • Don't forget to bring a camera!
    Although celebrations are slightly different in each place in Thailand, this adds to the uniqueness of this famous Thai festival. Regardless of where you are celebrating, you are sure to have a magical time during the Loi Krathong festival, with beautiful memories to last a lifetime!


    • #3
      Facts about Loy Krathong

      This traditional Thai festival takes place on the full moon of the 12th month in the Thai lunar calendar (8 November 2022). It is a time to celebrate and give thanks to the goddess of water, Phra Mae Kong Ka. On this special night, people float lotus-shaped baskets called krathongs on rivers and waterways to thank Mae Kong Ka for her blessings. Here are some fun facts about this unique festival.
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      Loy Krathong is considered Thailand’s Valentine’s Day
      Although Thai people largely celebrate Loy Krathong to worship the goddess of water, it’s also regarded as a version of Valentine’s Day in Thailand. Since the olden days, the festival has been the time for singles to socialise and meet new people for the first time. Some believe that they will meet their soulmates during the festival.
      As for couples, the festival is a time to wish for long-lasting love and happiness. Many couples make or buy their Krathong together. They also light the candles and incense, then release their Krathong together as they make a wish for their happiness. Many people believe that if the candle stays lit until their Krathong is out of sight, their love will last forever.

      You can decorate your Krathong however you want Loy Krathong 2022
      Krathong is made from a banana tree trunk shaped into a lotus by using folded banana leaves and decorated with flowers. People use banana tree trunk and leaves because the tropical plant is biodegradable. They’ll turn into fish food within a few days. In addition, the trunk can float well on water because it’s airy and light. Traditionally, people place a lit candle and 3 sticks of incense in the centre of Krathong. Flowers, candles, and incense sticks are all Buddhist symbols. The flowers represent the worship of the Buddha, the candle symbolises wisdom and knowledge, and the incense represents purity and power. Besides the 3 essential items, how you decorate your Krathong is up to you. Most people add personal items and craft-store buys into their Krathong. Coins might also be added as an offering as a way of making merit, welcome wealth, or honour ancestors.

      Putting hair, fingernails, and bits of clothes in Krathongs
      Besides decorating their Krathongs beautifully, some people also put hair strands, nail clippings, and even bits of clothes into their Krathongs. Putting these interesting things inside their Krathongs is a way to get rid of negative energy from the past, as well as to brush away bad luck and misfortune. L
      oy Krathong 2022

      Other countries also celebrate Loy Krathong
      Aside from Thailand, other countries that have significant southeastern Tai cultures also celebrate Loy Krathong. These include Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and some parts of Malaysia like Kelantan and Kedah.
      Loy Krathong 2022
      The coin collector
      Since many people place coins in their Krathongs, coin collectors are common. As people float their Krathong away, these coin collectors will dive into the water and stop the Krathong to take the coin. Some people find this act appalling. However, others see it in a more positive light – you’re actually making merit by allowing the collectors to take the coins. Loy Krathong festival is a magical event that is celebrated annually in Thailand. It is a time when people come together to enjoy the beauty of the full moon, to pay respects to the water spirits, and to make wishes for the coming year. If you are ever in Thailand during the month of November, be sure to check out this amazing festival!


      • #4
        Loy Krathong Festival: 17 places to celebrate in Bangkok

        Are you in Bangkok but still haven’t decided where to celebrate the Loy Krathong festival this evening? Piers along the Chao Phraya riverfront are the natural choice to behold the picturesque Festival of Lights tonight. However, several Buddhist temples, public parks, and malls are also holding fairs and celebrations each offering unique experiences.

        Where to celebrate Loy Krathong in Bangkok

        The iconic ICONSIAM shopping mall on the banks of the Chao Phraya will not hold back with Loy Krathong festivities tonight. The atmosphere is extra sparkly with ICONSIAM hosting the Bangkok Illuminations from November 1, 2022 – January 5, 2023, using solar-powered lights.
        Asiatique The Riverfont
        Asiatique has been Bangkok’s “official” Loy Krathong host since 2013. It’s the perfect location to soak up the Loy Krathong ambience, with plenty of bars, restaurants, parking spaces and beautiful views of the river, boats and twinkling city lights.
        Rama VIII Bridge / Suan Luang Rama VII Park
        The Rama VIII Bridge is a very popular spot for Bangkokians to float their Krathongs, with the most beautiful time to stop by the bridge being the early evening. The Suan Luang Rama VIII Park will also be hosting a traditional Loy Krathong event.
        Chulalongkorn University
        Not only students but everyone is welcome to celebrate Loy Krathong at Chulalongkorn University’s campus. There will be a lively, fair-like atmosphere at the campus with no shortage of kiosks, food stalls, live music and goodies on offer.
        Thammasat University, Tha Prachan
        At Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan (“Moon Pier”) you can take a service boat which stops in the middle of the Chao Phraya river to float your Krathong. The university will also host other festivities with market stalls, music, food and drinks. It will be busy so if you want a chance to float your Krathong in the middle of the river then head to Tha Prachan early. The event will be held from 3pm – 9pm.
        Kasetsart University, Bang Khen
        Tonight, there will be a traditional Thai costume beauty pageant at Kasetsart University’s Bang Khen campus. There will be a fair, a selection of food on offer and a floating market.
        Ramkhamhaeng University
        Watch a cultural performance at Ramkhamhaeng University’s campus tonight for Loy Krathong. There is a pond for floating Krathongs and many shops and stalls to explore.
        Alternatively, head to Ramkhamhaeng’s Bang Na campus from 6pm onwards to make your own Krathong from natural materials.
        Lumphini Park
        Every year, Lumphini Park hosts Loy Krathong celebrations. The spacious, green atmosphere provides a different, more chill vibe to the most popular Loy Krathong events.
        Bueng Kum
        A popular spot to float Krathongs is Bueng Kum, or Kum Lake, inside Seri Thai Park on the northern side of the city.
        Rama IX Temple
        Wat Rama 9, or Rama IX Temple, will host Loy Krathong traditions until 6pm. It is an auspicious day to make merit by bringing offerings to the temple. The temple has a lake where you can float your Krathong.
        Golden Mountain (Wat Saket Ratchaworawihan)
        Buddhists may choose to celebrate the festival at the Golden Mountain, aka Wat Saket Ratchaworawihan. Climb up the hundreds of steps for stunning views of the city.
        Tha Maharaj
        Tha Maharaj, or Maharaj Pier, is a buzzing spot along the Chao Phraya river, surrounded by the city’s most popular tourist attractions and cultural heritage sites: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Thammasat University, etc. This year, Tha Maharaj is one of the venues selected for the Bangkok River Festival 2022, held between November 5-8. Inside, you can make your own Krathong and float it at the pier. You can also see the Rama VIII Bridge from Tha Maharaj.
        Santichaiprakan Park
        Santichaiprakan Park will host the ‘Festival of Colours’ for Loy Krathong, from November 6-8. Expect cultural performances, food and photo opportunities. There are also beautiful views of the Rama VIII bridge from the park.
        Chatuchak Park
        Chatuchak Park is very popular among Bangkok residents due to its accessibility by public transport, located conveniently outside the Mo Chit BTS Station and MRT Chatuchak.
        Every year the park is buzzing with people who float their Krathongs in the lake.
        Suan Rot Fai (Wachirabenjathat Park)
        Wachirabenjathat Park, or Suan Rot Fai, is a big public park nearby Chatuchak Park. It is a popular spot for cycling and aerobic classes. There is also an insect museum inside the park.
        In the evening, Suan Rot Fai will host Loy Krathong festivities. It’s perfect for anyone wanting to float their Krathong surrounded by nature.
        Wat Arun Ractahwararam Woramahawihan (Wat Arun)
        Wat Arun is one of Bangkok’s most renowned and beautiful temples. This year, Wat Arun has joined as one of the 10 official locations of the Bangkok River Festival 2022.
        Wat Rakkang Kositaram Woramahawihan (Rakhang Temple)
        Rakhang Temple (“Temple of Bells”) is another official location for the Bangkok River Festival 2022 offering a cultural and educational Loy Krathong experience. The temple will host merit-making activities such as releasing fish into the river.