However, there is a special holiday that Thai people don’t just only go to temples but also go to the rivers to float a baskets into streams with their families and their love ones.
My blog this week will show you characteristics of an upcoming festival in Thailand which most of Thai people and foreigners are falling involve with, that is “Loi Krathong” festival !
What is Loi Krathong?
It is a holiday that happens annually in the evening of the full moon of the 12th month based on Thai lunar calendar, which usually falls in November. “Loi” means float and “Krathong” is a basket to be floated on water. It is a special sculpture creating for this festival. Krathongs is usually made from a slice of the trunk of a banana tree, which we call “Baitong,” then decorated with folded flowers and leaves. On the night of this full moon, we’ll launch our Krathongs on a river and making wishes for paying respect to the water.
Today, there is bread Krathongs that is designed to be distinguished after a few days in water or could be eaten by fish. I’m a fan of bread Krathongs. I think that we could make it useful to ourselves and the fish.
For you information Styrofoam Krathongs are banned in Thailand, as they pollute the rivers and take years to decompose. The Krathongs must be decay in order to save river. The purpose of Loi Krathong is to make merit or tumboon not by causing more problem to water environment.
Loi Krathong is the Most Beautiful Festival in Thailand
Ever since I could remember, in that time of the year, my family would bring me to the temples to watch “Ngan Wat,” the traditionally an event that set up in the temple, there is food for sell, games to play and the gigantic Ferris wheel. I have a congenital disease with motion sickness. I have always faced carsick, airsick, and seasick. That makes me couldn’t get inside the Ferris wheel, What a waste!
But when I get older, I saw the true beauty in this festival. It lies in the atmosphere where you could see thousand of light candles from both in Krathong and the reflection in the rivers with the warm feeling inside of you when looking to the your love ones under full moon light.
In the northern part of Thailand, this festival is called “Yi Peng”. Instead of Krathong, they use floating lanterns. Lantern is made from thin fabric that when it is lit, the lantern will float up into the sky.
However, today, Khom Loi is prohibited by government from launching floating lanterns in all event areas.
I understand why because I used to launch “Khom Loi” once, It was so hard to pull it off. The lantern always fell down before it could go up in the air. I almost burned myself. It may look pretty in the sky but the truth is it can be both dangerous to the person who launched it and the places it may fall down.
Almost every year, my family will go to the nearest river to float our Krathongs. If you don’t have your own Krathong, no worries, you are able to find many types of Krathongs for sell near the rivers. I felt deeply connected with this festival because it brings families back together. It was my precious memories :)
Why we have to Loi Krathong?
This tradition has its history for centuries. It was claimed to have its origin in the Sukhothai period by a court lady named “Nopphamat”. So, in this festival there is a beauty contest to known as “Nopphamat Queen Contests”.
Another history of Loi Krathong said that it came from India then adapted by Thai Buddhists to honor Buddha. Launching krathong’s floating is the symbol of letting go of all hatred, suffering, the past wrongdoing and negative thoughts. We use Krathongs to thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha and apologise her for any misbehaviours to the water. Likewise, releasing Khom Loi into the sky represents the same things but Yi Peng is also set up to worship Pra Katekaew Chulamani in heaven.
When I was in high school I signed up for Nopphamat contest for a certificate lol. I’m not a high heel types of girl, so I had a little trouble about it. I have to stand still for almost an hour with a smile on my face, I was tortured by shoes :( but still I had fun, then at night I float my Krathongs in the temple nearby my school, another precious moment of mine, celebrating this festival with my friends.
I’m the girl on the left
Well, I lost to other candidates but I have received my consolation certificate for my portfolio!
I’m so proud of Thai people because even in our daily life such as in this festival, we can still make it memorable and make it means something more than a typical holiday. Loi Krathong not only represents as an apology and thankful to the river but it also represents the preservation of a long last traditional of Thailand.
I hope this week, you will enjoy my blog and in the next few weeks, I probably see you launching your Krathong next to me lol Until next time!!! :)
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