Sunday, November 18, 2012

Loi Kratong Festival

Loi Krathong is Thailand's most beautiful and romantic festival celebrated on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. This usually falls in November in Western calendar (Loy Krathong 2012 will be on November 28th 2012). The festival has its roots in an ancient practice of paying respect to the spirit of the waters. During the festival, Thais honor and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha, for her help in providing the most basic of all human necessities.

Loi (or Loy) literally means "float" in Thai. Krathong is the lotus-shaped receptacle which is the central piece of the Loy Kratong ceremony. They are made off bread, wood from banana tree or simply styrofoam. During the ceremony, Thais will float decorated flowers, candles, incense sticks, a low value coin and elaborately-folded banana leaves. Many Thais believe that floating krathong will create a good luck and Thais will cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the krathong to symbolically let go of the bad parts of oneself.

Where is the best place to visit during Loi Krathong?

Loy Krathong is celebrated in all regions of Thailand. But the most celebrations can be seen in northern city of Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna kingdom. Loy Kratong coincides with the Lanna (northern Thai) festival known as "Yi Peng" a multitude of Lanna-style sky lanterns known in Thai as khom loi (literally  "floating lanterns") are launched into the air where they resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating by through the sky. In Chiang Mai, Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are celebrated at the same time resulting in lights floating on the waters, lights hanging from trees/buildings or standing on walls, and lights floating by in the sky.

A man praying before floating a krathong.
Thousands of sky lanternss in Chiang Mai
When will be Loi Kratong Festival in the following years?
In 2012, Loy Kratong Festival will be celebrated on November 28th 2012. In 2013, the festival will fall on November 18th 2013. In 2014, the festival will be celebrated on November 7th 2014.

See also lights up Thailand with fabulous Loy Kratong deals.

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