We help you float your boat this Loy Krathong
Without panic sandbags being piled up along flooded riverbanks like last year, Bangkokians will finally get to enjoy Loy Krathong with ease on Nov 28. And as some of us might have forgotten the drill after a year off, Guru takes you back to basics, teaching you how to make krathong by yourself, suggesting interesting places to visit to enjoy the festive time, as well as offering alternative krathongs.
FUN LOY KRATHONG FACTS
- According to a 2010 article in Manager Online, a survey by a certain condom company indicates that Loy Krathong is the festival, second to Valentine's Day, where teenagers lose their virginity.
- Strands of hair, nail clippings or even bits of clothes that one doesn't use anymore are often put into krathong according to the belief that it will get rid of the bad stuff from the past.
- Coins are added to krathong to bring wealth.
- Apart from honouring and appeasing the Goddess of Water, some believe the act of floating krathong symbolises the release of one's grudges, anger and general negativity.
PLACES TO LOY KRATHONG
Because floating your krathong in a plastic tub by yourself at home is hardly an ideal way to enjoy the festival, we have dug out some of the popular places around the city, where you can float a krathong with a special someone, possibly cementing your budding love or other motivations:
1. Chulalongkorn University (4pm onwards, at the pond in front of King Rama V and VI statues, 254 Phaya Thai Road, 02-218-7040) hosts Loy Krathong Festival every year in the university's pond. Students and the general public are invited. But be careful, as urban legend has it that you and your loved one will break up if you loy krathong here together.
2. Kasetsart University (5pm onwards, at the pond in front of the Office of Agricultural Museum and Culture, 50 Ngam Wong Wan Road, 085-931-5557) is open to the public with students occupying booths selling krathong and food. It's not an ideal place to visit alone because you don't want to launch your boat on your own while student couples hold their krathong, never looking away from each other's eyes.
3. Lumpini Park (Witthayu Road, 02-252-7006) with its ample water features has many launch sites whether in the artificial lake or ponds scattered around the park.
4. Dusit Zoo (8am onwards, 71 Rama V Road, 02-281-2000, www.dusitzoo.org) offers extras such as a giant krathong, light decorations and a concert from many artists.
EVENTS AND SHOWS
Loy Krathong also involves other forms of celebration such as shows and events. Here is a list, starting from Nov 24:
- The spectacular 80-tonne illuminated barge (8pm, Nov 24-28) coordinated by several agencies including The Tourism Authority of Thailand, Royal Thai Air Force, and Royal Thai Navy will light up the Chao Phraya River cruising from the Krungthep Bridge, passing the Memorial Bridge, to Krung Thon Bridge.
- Sparkling illuminated decorations will be on various noteworthy architectural landscapes along the Chao Phraya river, for example, Memorial Bridge, Phra Pinklao Bridge, Rama VIII Bridge, and Wat Arun (from dusk, Nov 24-28).
- Miracle Light of the Chao Phraya River (9pm, Nov 24 and 28 at Asiatique, The Riverfront) will host a fireworks show by a world-class team and music from songwriter Prof Kaiwan Kulavadhanothai.
- The Miracle Light of Music and Colour on the Banks of the Chao Phraya (7pm, Nov 24-28 at Asiatique, The Riverfront) will feature various daily shows, including Nop Bucha Sattha Loi Prapratheep (Nov 24), a contemporary shadow play performance from Kit Buak Sip with puppet and dance performances, and Suan Phlu Chorus (Nov 25), harmonies from a well-known Thai choir.
GURU'S ALTERNATIVE KRATHONGS
If simple krathong of folded banana leaves aren't exactly your taste, here are some alternatives to take your festival to the next level.
KRISPY KREME KRATHONG
KRISPY KREME KRATHONG
After queuing up and finally getting to enjoy the long-awaited doughnuts, we should share them with the fish too. They're delicious and do no harm to the environment (unless you count obesity).
If it has been a while since you've picked up a copy of Guru, we've decided to float krathong made of Guru pages in the hopes it will finally reach you. But be quick before it gets too soaked and sinks.
VOODOO DOLL KRATHONG
VOODOO DOLL KRATHONG
In case your boy/girlfriend suddenly decides to dump you during this festive time, attach a voodoo doll that symbolises your ex to your traditional krathong, floating them away forever. Easy.
Because the coins we put on krathong will probably be stolen anyway, why not enlarge our krathong to fit all the things we don't need anymore.
1. Banana trunk
2. Banana leaves
3. Incense sticks
6. Wooden pins
7. Strands of hair, nail clippings, and coins
While elaborate krathong require special skills, years of experience and practice to construct, a simple krathong is actually very easy to make with just a few basic and easily sourced components. Use our guide to make your own krathong.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO MAKING A KRATHONG
1. Cut a slice that is not too thick nor thin from a banana trunk for the foundation of your krathong.
2. Cut banana leaf in a circle to cover the foundation of the krathong as well as a long strip for the side.
3. Cut banana leaves into rectangular pieces and fold as indicated (see picture).
4. Pin down each leaf with wooden pins until they surround the krathong.
5. Stick the candle and incense sticks in the centre and put some flowers on top.
6. Place strands of hair, nail clippings and coins on top and you're good to go.
DIGITAL LOY KRATHONG
As ignoring your computer or smartphone screen requires quite an effort these days, Guru, your best friend, has scoured the online world and found virtual places to float your (fake) krathong without having to move an inch (except your mouse hand).
- Visit season.sanook.com/loykrathong where you can type your name onto krathong and add a wish underneath. There are quite a few krathong to choose from including a plastic bowl and one featuring Psy in all his Gangnam glory.
- For a more elaborate krathong, visit loykratong.kapook.com where you can add your name and wish, but also light up a candle and joss sticks while listening to the familiar "Loy Krathong" tune.
- Visit www.smileapp.com/loykrathong-free to download an app that lets you choose a krathong, decorate it with flowers, add a wish and share it on Facebook and Twitter.
About the author
Writer: Kaona Pongpipat