Loi Krathong in Thailand

Loi Krathong in Thailand – The lantern festival

Loi Krathong in Thailand

The Loi Krathong, what we call the lantern festival or lights, takes place on the full moon nights of the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar, i.e. in our November, in all Buddhist countries (Thailand, Laos, Myamar, Cambodia). Loi literally means “to float” while Krathong refers to compositions made of lotus petal and banana leaves floating on water. Originally, but still now from what I could see, these compositions were made with leaves of the banana tree, and Chiang Mai for example, on the occasion of the festival (from 8 to 12 November 2011) the Krathong competition also took place, whose artists were all children or teenagers.
And krethong it contains not only flowers but also food, candles, incense and coins. On the street you can also find krathong made into bread. Whether you use the one in bread or the one with the banana trunk, both are biodegradable even if the disappearance times are very different. If the bread will be eaten by fish after a few days, the one with banana leaves will take a few years. A krathong bought on the street costs approx 150 baht and candles and incense are gifts given to the spirits of the river. The origins of this festival date back to the times when the ceremony and respect for the spirits of the water were practiced, today from what I have seen it is mainly a massive celebration but which still has its charm and which made me decide that if I ever return to Thailand I will want to do it on this occasion.
The Loi Krathong was born in Sukhothai, the first capital of Thailand, although there are still open debates about the city of birth which some want to make belong to Bangkok. Originally the Brahmanical festival it was adapted by Buddhists in Thailand as a ceremony to honor the original Buddha, Siddharta Guatama.
So this is a Buddhist festival and the act of lighting candles and illuminating the city is aimed at venerating the Buddha and letting them float on the river or making them fly in the air symbolizes the abandonment of bad luck.
This releases all the negativity and anger to let it fly or float away and away from yourself.

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Loi Krathong chiang mai

Tradition would also require you to cut a nail and a lock of hair which should be placed in the lantern or krathong symbolizing the abandonment of the negative parts of each one.
Thais believe that floating will not only bring good luck but will also honor the God of Water.

In addition to throwing lanterns into the sky, you have to make a wish at the launch, and abandoning the krathong in the water during the festival is witnessed beauty competitions, live musicfood areas at lower prices than usual (10 baht) and fireworks which however are a Chinese import and not a Thai tradition.
Loi Krathong is not just a Thai festival but takes place in all Buddhist countries in South East Asia including Burma, Laos and Cambogia, so if by bad luck you don’t find yourself in Chiang Mai for the occasion, make sure you find yourself in one of these other countries because the event is worth experiencing.

I wanted to celebrate it Chiang Mai which with Sukhothai is the most important city for Loi Krathong. People from all over Thailand flocked here to take part in this event which began on November 8th and ends on the 12th.
Every year the dates change so check before making your plans. Besides the fact that Chiang Mai is my favorite city in Thailand, the days of celebration were exciting and sometimes moving.

It’s true that there is the commercial side and that perhaps now it has transformed this mystical celebration into a sort of New Year’s Eve (sometimes I had this impression) but on the other side finding myself on the river bank where there were hundreds of people and yet the silence, and seeing them one after the other turn on the lights candles they incense and after having made the wish, he let his karathong go into the water under the light of the fireworks. It was perhaps one of the most beautiful moments of my last 9 months of travel.
I wanted to say something but silence was the only thing that could make that moment even more magical. A small oasis of silence and authenticity in a noisy and chaotic context.

Before my eyes I saw it flow hundreds of krathongs one more beautiful than the other, I saw hundreds of people express their desire and release their negativity to the god of water and then reopen their eyes as if returning to reality with the smile that only Thais can give.
I released the lanterns into the sky.

I lit two and I expressed two. My lanterns joined the other thousands of lanterns in the sky that multiplied hour after hour, giving me a scene that was impossible to capture with a camera and equally difficult to explain with words.
The Loi Kathong is a festival of traditions and joy in which rivers of people pour into the streets to take part in one of the most important, beautiful and evocative events in Asian countries.

Read also: Thai New Year is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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