Loi Krathong is one of the best-preserved traditional, romantic and most beautiful festivals celebrated in Thailand, illustrating the close relationship between the Thai way of life and water. Also called Lantern Festival or Festival of Floating Bowls, it is a traditional Thai cultural festival of lanterns, wishes and lights that will take place on November 3 this year. This festival is held across Thailand; however the most popular regions to experience the festival are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri and Tak.
This festival is celebrated on the night of the full moon of the 12th Lunar month (usually in November), where people gather at lakes, rivers, canals, and other waterways to set adrift krathongs. Translated into English ‘Loy’ means to float and ‘Krathong’ is a kind of raft. This raft which traditionally consists of banana leaves decorated with candles, flowers, incense sticks and is left into the water. The background of this tradition is the belief that together with the raft, the sins and mistakes of the past year are washed away and room is made for new happiness in one’s life. It is one of the most important Thai traditions, which means that on this day all waters, whether rivers, lakes, oceans, are adorned with thousands of luminous rafts.
Loi Krathong is celebrated widely in Bangkok with various kinds of entertainment, and it is organised at many locations, not only at riverside venues. An illuminated boat procession along with the Chao Phraya River and the lit-up buildings and historical sites on both sides of the river make Loi Krathong in Bangkok a memorable experience. The Bangsai Loi Krathong Tam Parthip is held at the Bangsai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre. This festival features traditional Loi Krathong activities amidst the magnificent ruins of the once glorious capital city of Thailand. Held at the Sukhothai Historical Park, the Sukhothai Loi Krathong and the candle Festival is celebrated in grand fashion and the site is believed to be the origin of this festival. Other activities include fireworks displays, cultural performances and beauty contests, as well as light and sound presentations. The festival at Suphan Buri shows a well-preserved culture and traditions that have been practiced since the ancient period. The festival includes krathong procession, illuminated boat procession and cultural performances. The tradition of Loi Krathong in Tak is different from other provinces, the festival being called ‘Loi Krathong Sai’. The banana leaf floats are replaced by coconut shells threaded together into a long chain and released together on the Ping River. Chiang Mai celebrates Loi Krathong Lanna style in an event called the Yi Peng Festival. Apart from Loi Krathong on the Mae Ping River, Yi Peng or Lanna-style hot-air balloons are launched into the sky.
This year, Tak province- known as Thailand’s western frontier to Mynanmar and gateway to the Northern provinces, looks forward to welcoming visitors from November 3 to 5 to experience Thai hospitality and culture. Unlike anywhere else in Thailand Tak’s ‘Loi Krathong Sai’ floating Lantern festival will kick off with a parade where locals dress up in Thai traditional costumes to celebrate the grand lantern procession. Watch cultural performances, indulge in locally made delicacies and buy their merchandise and learn about the history and making of Krathong Sai.