Loy Krathong – The Festival of Lights

Greeting, fellow travelers!

November is here, which means Loy Krathong Festival (เทศกาลลอยกระทง) is coming soon. This  month, we will contribute a couple series about this festival of light; what it is, how it is different in different regions of Thailand, and types of Krathong (flower basket). So, here comes the first one. let’s take a look!

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1. What is Loy Krathong?

Loy Krathong is one of the most important festivals of Thailand, known as the festival of lights, where people gather by rivers, ponds, or canals at night to float a flower basket or buoyant. It’s celebrated annually on a full moon of the 12th month according to a traditional Thai lunar calendar. This year, 2015, the festival will be held on Nov, 25th.

2. What does ‘Loy Krathong’ mean? What is it made of?

Literally, the word ‘Loy’ means to float, and ‘Krathong’ means a basket. In this event, Krathong is meant a flower basket. It’s made from a banana trunk and decorated with its leave and different kinds of flower. There was a time people used to use plastic foam for a krathong, but nowadays, krathongs, made with plastic, are banned. We use materials that are biodegradable and environment-friendly. Banana trees work very well as the original way to make krathongs. Recently, Thai people make bread krathongs, so they can be eaten by fish afterward.

3. Why do we celebrate Loy Krathong?

The reason we celebrate the festival is to pay respects to Goddess of Water and to float away (as to let go) of our hatred, agony, grudge and sorrow. We, human, have been blessed with abundant water to produce many essential things for ourselves; harvesting, consuming, etc, yet, we pollute them. This festival is a sign of appreciation and apology we have toward the Goddess. When we launch our krathong, we wish to have a fortunate lives and to forget bad feelings/grudges from the past. If your candle stay lid until your krathong is out of sight, you have been blessed with luck.

4. What is the origin of Loy Krathong festival?

There isn’t any solid evident about Loy Krathong’s origin, since it has been told from generations to generations and from time to time. Some people believe that Tao Sri Chulalak, or Nang Nopphamas, was the one who invented this krathong and the festival during Sukhothai period (12s – 15s). Some believe that we only celebrate for the Goddess of Water, as I’ve mentioned earlier, to be thankful for water resources we have had throughout the year.

5. Who is Nang Nopphamas?

Nang Nopphamas, was a consort lady 13th century king, Phra Ruang. She was, then, named Tao Sri Chulalak, when she married to Phra Ruang. She was said to be a perfect woman for the era because of her beauty, her manner, and her knowledge. She invented a beautiful flower krathong. However, there is no proof that Nang Nopphamas was existed back then. Later in 19s century, she was featured as a leading role in King Rama III’s novel. Thai people across the country, nowadays, has been celebrating Loy Krathong Festival along beauty contests, known as Nopphamas Beauty Queen Contest.

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A krathong filled with flowers for this Loy Krathong festival

Are you coming to Thailand during Loy Krathong Festival? It’s absolutely a no-miss festival. Imagine the whole places are lid by krathongs’ candle lights. What a stunning and mesmerising moment!

There are 2 more Loy Krathong articles to come though, please, be in touch 😉

Don’t forget to share your thought and experience about this upcoming festival.

Stay sweet