Loy Krathong Festival
Loy Krathong Festival – November
Loy Krathong Festival – Is held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November. “Loi” means “to float”. “Krathong” is a raft about a handspan in diameter traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk (although modern-day versions use specially made bread ‘flowers’ and may use styrofoam), decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, incense sticks etc.
During the night of the full moon, many people will release a small raft like this on a river. Governmental offices, corporations and other organizations also build much bigger and more elaborate rafts, and these are often judged in contests. In addition, fireworks and beauty contests take place during the festival.
The festival probably originated in India as a Hindu festival similar to Deepavali as thanksgiving to the deity of the Ganges with floating lanterns for giving life throughout the year. Krathong floats in the shape of lotus blossoms are most popular and are made from materials easily found in each locality. Loi Krathong customs and traditions reflect local beliefs and cultural evolution and interesting regional variations can be seen.
In Tak province, the banana-leaf floats are replaced by coconut shells which are threaded together and launched simultaneously so they appear as long chains of hundreds of glittering lights on the River and the sea, hence the origin of its name, “Loi Krathong Sai”.There are various accounts about the origins of Loi Krathong. However given the river-based culture that forms the foundation of the traditional Thai way of life. Many also believe that by setting adrift the krathong, one symbollically casts away one’s grief, misery and ill-fortunes.
Coins are also placed in the krathong as offerings. For the romantic at heart and young couples, Loi Krathong is the time to make wishes for happiness together and success in love.