Loi Krathong is one of the biggest annual festivals in Thailand. It is celebrated every year on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. Therefore, the festival date changes every year according to the size of the moon.
According to the western calendar, the festival usually falls in the month of November and this year Loi Krathong will be celebrated on November 14.
The name of this festival can be translated "floating (Loi) basket (Krathong)", and it comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets. These decorated baskets are then floated on a river.
The festival is also said to mark the end of the rainy season and give some respite to Thai people from the relentless downpour. Millions of people come together and celebrate this festival along with their family members. We at IBT Singapore will take you through the traditions of this Loi Krathong Festival.
1. The festival originated in the ancient city of Sukhothai
Loi Krathong Festival is believed to have originated from the ancient city of Sukhothai, located about five hours north of Bangkok, by a court lady named Nopphamat. It is said to be a Brahmanical festival which was later adapted by Thai Buddhists in Thailand to honor Buddha. The Buddhist monks would light candles and krathongs were floated.
2. Krathongs are most important part of the festival
Krathongs are usually hand made, with the bases typically made of a slice of the trunk of a banana tree or a loaf of bread. Those are decorated with banana leaves, flowers and incense sticks. The floating krathongs symbolise letting go of all one's hatred, anger, and defilements. Many people cut their fingernails or hair and place those on their krathongs. This is a symbol of letting go of past transgressions and negative thoughts.
3. Lighting sky lanterns
Lo Krathong festival coincides with the Lanna (northern Thai) festival which is known as Yi Peng. It refers to the full moon day of the second month according to the Lanna lunar calendar. Lighting and appreciating lanterns are the main activity of the festival. When the festival comes, lanterns of various shapes and sizes are seen everywhere attracting customers. These lanterns have artworks with traditional images.
4. Coins in krathongs
While floating their krathongs into the water bodies, many Thai people include coins in their krathongsas an offering to the river spirits as well as to Buddha. But, it is not known, that some people later dive into those water bodies to steal those coins after the celebration is over.
5. Nopphamat Queen Contests and other exciting things of this festival
During this festival, several beauty pageants are held throughout the country which is often known as Nopphamat Queen Contests. It is believed that Nang Nopphamat was a consort of the 13th century Sukhothai king Indraditya, also known as Phra Ruang. Nopphamat was the first to float a decorated raft. However, there is no evidence of the existence of Nang Nopphamat.
Apart from this, Thais wearing traditional Thai clothing and decorate their houses with lights, have delicious food and come together to celebrate together. Thailand looks extremely beautiful during this festival as the entire nation glitters with light and happiness. These pictures would surely add to your imagery of the Loi Krathong festival.