There are a number of ways for visitors to Thailand to gain a quick glimpse into Thai culture, both modern and traditional. One of these is to experience the romantic “Loy Kratong Festival”
Loy Kratong festival is held on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month of the Thai calendar (around mid November).
“Loy” means “to float” and “Kratong” refers to a banana trunk decorated with banana leaves, elaborate flowers, candles and incense.
It is thought that the Kratong was created by Tao Sri Chulalk or Nang Noppamas in the Sukhothai Kingdom in Northern Thailand.
The Loy Kratong ritual honors a relic of the Lord Buddha – his hair. It is also a way for Thai people to show their gratitude to the goddess of water, for its natural abundance and also to seek forgiveness for our pollution of the water.
Many Thai people believe that placing some of their cut nails and hair and some coins inside the Kratong will allow their misfortunes to float away. Loy Kratong is also a special time to wish for happiness and success in love for young couples.
At night during this festival you will see thousands of candle-lit Kratongs in the rivers and canals. Also, many temples will host fairs with games, food stalls, local traditional performances and Kratong making contests to celebrate Loy Kratong Day, while some provinces will host Miss Noppamas beauty pageants.
The most attractive place in Northern Thailand to celebrate this festival is Chiang Mai, locally known as “Yee Peng Festival”.
In this city you will witness a spectacular sight at night with countless lanterns floating into the night sky, while in the neighboring Sukhothai province you can experience a stunning light and sound performance in the ruined Sukhothai historical park. In Tak province many tourists come to see the unique “Kratong Sai”, a typical Kratong made of coconut shells and threaded together in a line of thousand glittering lights along the Ping river.
If you happen to be in central Thailand at this time, you should not miss celebrating the Loy Kratong festival in Bangkok where special events are held along the Chao Pra Ya river, the Rama IX Bridge, the Rama I Memorial Bridge and Santichaiprakan Park on Phra Artit road or Benjarisiri Park at the heart of the city. Bangkok’s luxury hotels offer a special dinner by the river with fireworks, or you can book a dinner cruise – I guarantee you an unforgettable experience.
A one hour drive north of Bangkok, will allow you to experience the grandeur festival and different local activities at Bangsai Arts and Crafts Center of H.M. Queen Sirikit- Ayutthaya.
In recent years some Kratongs have been made from Styrofoam. Please remember the earth and choose only the natural Kratong!