Of the many festivals the Thais are known for, none is quite as magical and surreal as that of the water Lantern festival – Loy Krathong, as hundreds of lighted lanterns float away quietly along the rivers and shores of Thailand.
Held nationwide on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month on the Thai lunar calendar, which is usually around the middle of November, Loy Krathong is a celebration of the passing of one year and wishing for happiness and success in the new year.
The word Loy literally means ‘to float’ while the word ‘Krathong’ pertains to the container that is floated on the water during the festival. These containers are usually made from a banana stalk and the Krathongs are decorated with banana leaves, candles, and flowers, which is then floated down a river on the night of the full moon.
While not celebrated as a religious festival, it is believed that the Krathong can carry away one’s troubles and misfortunes, and also pays tribute to the Goddess of Water, Mae Khongkha. Some would also put coins into the Krathong in hopes of receiving better luck for the following year.
Being a significant festival in Thailand, Loy Krathong attracts several locals as well as tourists. In the lead up to the evening of festivities, makeshift stalls can be seen selling krathongs along the streets.
Even as a visitor, you can easily participate in Loy Krathong by buying a krathong from the street vendors. Most of these krathongs come ready made and decked out in festive decorations, complete with candles and incense sticks. Though many of these krathongs are made from bio-degradable natural materials, there will be a few that are made from non-degradable styrofoam, which one should avoid as it would pollute the waterways.
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