Loy Krathong – The Thailand Floating Festival

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 2013 is a popular festival, with many locals and visitors is expected to join the observations.

When Is Loy Krathong 2013?

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 2013 will be celebrated on Sunday, 17 November 2013. While a popular festival, Loy Krathong is not marked as a public holiday in Thailand.

Thailand Loy Krathong 2013 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 feelings.

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 2013 in Malaysia

Malaysia also celebrates Loy Krathong in the same manner and is celebrated mostly in the Tumpat area in Kelantan. The ministry of tourism in Malaysia, realizing that the Loy Krathong Festival draws thousands of foreigners from all over the world during the celebration, has since made it a tourist attraction. The festival is celebrated on the same day as Thailand Loy Krathong 2013, on Sunday, 17 November 2013.

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 Loi Krathong 2013:

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 float Krathongs.

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.

Hotels For Loy Krathong 2013

Hotels in Bangkok
Baiyoke Sky Hotel
Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel
Shangri La Hotel

Hotels in Sukhothai
Sukhothai Treasure Resort & Spa
Thai Thai Sukhothai Guesthouse
Le Charme Sukhothai Hotel

Hotels in Chiang Mai
Veranda Chiang Mai the High Resort
Touch Star Resort
Kao Mai Lanna Resort

Useful Travel Resources For Loy Krathong 2013

Happy Thailand Loy Krathong 2013 ! Happy Loi Krathong 2013 !