15 November, 2023

Loy Krathong ลอยกระทง

Loy Krathong is a traditional Thai festival celebrated annually on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, which usually falls in November. The festival is a time for Thai people to express gratitude to the water spirits, seek forgiveness for any pollution of the water, and make wishes for the future.

The central focus of Loy Krathong is the floating of krathongs on bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and ponds. A krathong is a small, elaborately decorated floating basket traditionally made from banana leaves and containing various offerings. These offerings typically include candles, incense, flowers, and sometimes small coins.

People gather near water bodies, light the candles and incense on their krathongs, make a wish, and then release them onto the water. As the krathongs float away, it is believed that they carry away any negative energy or misfortune, and the act symbolizes letting go of the past and starting anew.

Loy Krathong is a beautiful and culturally significant festival, celebrated with various events and activities, including traditional dances, parades, and fireworks. It's not only observed in Thailand but also in other countries with Thai communities.

Chiang Mai is particularly famous for its grand celebrations during the Loy Krathong festival. The city hosts one of the most spectacular Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Lantern festivals in Thailand. Here are some key features of Loy Krathong celebrations in Chiang Mai:

Yi Peng Lantern Festival: Chiang Mai's Loy Krathong coincides with the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, where thousands of sky lanterns (khom loi) are released into the night sky. The sight of countless lanterns floating up into the heavens creates a mesmerizing and magical atmosphere.

Krathong Parades: The festival often includes colorful parades featuring beautifully decorated floats, traditional Thai music, and dancers. These parades add to the festive ambiance and showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Wai Khru Ceremony: Some celebrations in Chiang Mai include a Wai Khru ceremony, where locals pay respects to their teachers and express gratitude for the knowledge they have received. This ceremony is marked by various rituals and performances.

Beauty Pageants: Loy Krathong festivals in Chiang Mai may also feature beauty pageants, cultural performances, and competitions that add an extra layer of entertainment to the celebrations.

Release of Krathongs and Lanterns: Like in other parts of Thailand, people in Chiang Mai release krathongs onto the Ping River or other water bodies to pay respects to the water spirits. Additionally, the release of lanterns into the night sky creates a breathtaking visual display.

Fireworks: Fireworks displays are common during Loy Krathong celebrations in Chiang Mai. The night sky is often illuminated with colorful bursts of light, adding to the festive spirit.

It's worth noting that the specific events and activities can vary from year to year, and the exact details of the celebration may change. If you're planning to participate in Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai, it's advisable to check the local event schedules for the most up-to-date information.

Loy Krathong is a Thai festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand and in nearby countries with significant South Western Tai cultures

Loy Krathong (ลอยกระทง) means “floating basket.”
These are hand made, with the bases typically made of a slice of the trunk of a banana tree or a loaf of bread and ornately decorated with banana leaves, flowers, and incense sticks.

Loy Krathong, which originated in the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom around 800 years ago, is celebrated to pay respect to and thank the Goddess of Water (called Pra Mae Khongkha) for a year's worth of her abundant supply, ask for an apology for polluting the waters, and pay respect to the Buddha.

On the full-moon day of the 12th lunar month, many Thais float their krathong down a river or even a pond to pay respects to the Lord Buddha and seek forgiveness from the goddess of water for any misdeeds against her.

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