Thailand�s Loy Krathong (or Loi
Krathong) is one of the many traditional festivals of Thailand. It is an
evening when Thais pay respect to the goddess of the waters by floating
candlelit offerings on any and all waterways around the kingdom.
The word �Loy� literally means �to float� and �Krathong� means a raft. The
raft is said to be about a hand span in diameter and is traditionally made
from a section of a banana tree trunk. Throughout the years of evolution,
the Loy Krathong raft has been developed to be made out of bread or
Styrofoam as an alternative form.
Bread raft was introduced to protect the environment because of the fact
that having numerous rafts can lead to a huge water pollution problem. As a
result, the bread raft was ingeniously created not only for the user, but
eventually, the raft will become food for the fishes and other animals
living in the river. All forms of rafts are decorated with uniquely folded
banana leaves, candles, flowers and incense sticks, among others.
Loy Krathong 2011 is a popular festival, with many locals and visitors is
expected to join the observations.
Loy Krathong is celebrated during the full moon of the 12th month in the
Thai lunar calendar and usually falls in November in western Gregorian
calendar. This year, Loy Krathong 2011 will be celebrated on Thursday, 10
November 2011. While a popular festival, Loy Krathong is not marked as a
public holiday in Thailand.
Thailand Loy Krathong 2011 Celebrations
In the night of the full moon, locals will float small rafts or Krathong in
the river or on any bodies of water present in their area. Some even float
the raft in a basin in the comfort of their own backyard. Thais believes
that this gesture is to honor and pay homage to the Goddess of the water
Phra Mae Khongkha. Some believe that it is to ask for forgiveness to the
things that they have done to the rivers during the past years, hence it is
done during the end of the year.
In cooperation with the tradition, government officers, corporations and
other organizations creates bigger and well decorated rafts and have
organized certain competitions. Fireworks and beauty contests are just among
the many activities present during the festival.
Sukhothai is said to bear the origins of the Loy Krathong, but scholars
recently have found out that it was and invention during the Bangkok period.
Writings of H.M King IV in 1863 stated that the original Brahmanical
festival was adopted by Thailand Buddhists as part of their ceremony to
honor the original Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Aside from adorning the
Buddha with light as represented by the candle on the raft, the floating
represents the letting go of all grudges, anger and other forms of negative
Apart from venerate the Buddha with light (the candle on the raft), the act
of floating away the candle raft is symbolic of letting go of all one�s
grudges, anger and defilements, so one can start a new and fresh life.
People will also cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the raft as
a symbol of letting go of the bad parts of oneself. Many also believe that
floating a raft will bring them good luck, and at the same time thanking and
honoring the Goddess of the Water.
Beauty Pageants that accompanies the festival is also known as the �Noppamas
Queen Contests�. As the legends tells it story, Noppamas was a partner of
the Sukothai king Loethai in the 14th century. She was also the first person
to ever float a decorated raft.
Loy Krathong 2011 in Malaysia
Where To �Loy Krathong� In Thailand?
If you are a visitor, you can surely see some activities in any bodies of
water, including lake or river. Here are some popular places to release the
candlelit raft during Loy Krathong 2011:
Bangkok: Here, people assemble in large number at the banks of Chao Phraya
river to float their Krathongs. Lumphini Park is also a popular place to
Sukhothai: Join the Festival in Sukhothai Historical Park. This is the place
where the first krathong was said to be set afloat and is likely to be where
most activities are. A beautiful sound and light show is the highlight here.
Chiang Mai: The Loy Krathong Festival takes place along the Mae Ping River
on two nights of the full moon. On the first night, the people of Chiangmai
take their lanterns to the Ping River and set them afloat. Then on the
second night, Chiangmai hosts an illuminated parade with large floats of
beautiful Chiangmai women dressed in the northern Lanna costumes of old.