One of Thailand's most popular festivals, Loy Krathong, is back after last year's mood for celebrations was marred by major flooding in many provinces. This year, the full moon of the 12th lunar month falls on Nov 28.
An elephant releases a krathong during the celebration in Ayutthaya.
This festival is believed to date back to the Sukhothai period over 700 years ago. It was a time for people to pay respects to the Lord Buddha and seek forgiveness from the goddess of water for any misdeeds against water.
The word loy means ''to float'' while krathong is a lotus blossom-shaped vessel containing candles, incense sticks and flowers which a person floats down a river, or on a lake or pond. Krathong are made of banana leaves and trunk, coconut husk and colourful paper. Those made of styrofoam can also be found though they pollute the waterways.
In Thailand, the Loy Krathong Festival is celebrated nationwide. It usually features fireworks, parades, krathong-making contests and beauty pageants in which beauty queens hold the title of nang noppamart. Here are some of the major events:
Bangkok The Delightful Colour of Stream, Loy Krathong Festival, is set for Nov 24-28 at Asiatique The Riverfront and the stretch of the Chao Phraya between Krung Thep Bridge and Krung Thon Bridge. The opening ceremony will be a spectacle with cultural performances and light decorations. A highlight will be a float procession.
Ayutthaya The Loy Krathong Festival will take place on Nov 28 at Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre where visitors will experience the old riverside market atmosphere with beauty pageants, krathong-making contests and cultural performances. There will be a krathong procession contest in which the winner will receive His Majesty the King's trophy.
Samut Songkhram The province will celebrate the Loy Krathong Karb Kluay Mae Klong Festival on Nov 28 at King Rama II Memorial Park and Wat Chonglom. There will be a procession of krathong karb kluay made of banana tree trunks, local cultural performances, a krathong design contest, a beauty pageant and the presentation of pha pa (trees decorated with money and religious items) to monks at temples on Mae Klong River.
Suphan Buri The festival will be celebrated on Nov 28 along the banks of the Suphan Buri River (Tha Chin River). There will be a procession of lanterns, fireworks display, a krathong contest and cultural performances.
Chiang Mai This northern city will celebrate the Yi Peng Festival during Nov 28-29 at Tha Phae Gate in Muang district and from Nov 24-30 in tambon Mae Jo, San Sai district.
In Muang district, participants will enjoy the opening ceremony, cultural performances and beauty contests at the gate, a procession of lanterns at Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and a light and sound show on the Ping River. The winner of a krathong procession contest will be awarded HM the King's trophy. Participants can shop for gifts in the Lanna-style walking street. In tambon Mae Jo, San Sai district, there will be dhamma and meditation practice as well as a kathin ceremony at Thudongkhasathan dhamma centre.
Sukhothai The Loy Krathong and Candle Festival will take place from Nov 26-28 at Sukhothai Historical Park. Highlights will include activities under the theme of the ''Dawn of Happiness'', a lantern procession, a grand fireworks display, a Nang Noppamart beauty contest, a krathong design competition, art and cultural performances.
Tak The Loy Krathong Sai Festival and Thousand Floating Candles celebration will be held from Nov 24-29 along the banks of the Ping River. Among highlights will be the Amazing Krathong Sai (a procession of floating coconut-shell floats) and the Krathong Sai design contest for HM the King's trophy. For more information, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand's call centre on 1672 or visit http://www.loikrathong.net/en/index.php.
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About the author
- Writer: Pichaya Svasti
Position: Life Writer