Travelers in Thailand beginning November 2017 you will experience Loi Krathong
Loi Krathong is a festival celebrated annually throughout southwestern Thai cultures. The name could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or floating, decorated baskets, which are then drifted on a river.
Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar; which is the reason why, the exact date of the festival changes from year to year. In the Western calendar this usually falls in the month of November. In 2016 it was celebrated on November 14th. This year in 2017 it will be celebrated on November 3rd.
Krathong is customarily a small leaf bowl which is made to hold a small portion of goods like a traditional Thai dish or dessert. The traditional krathong used for floating at the festival are made from a slice of a banana tree trunk or a spider lily plant. Modern krathongs are more often made of bread or Styrofoam. A bread krathong will disintegrate after a few days and can be eaten by fish. Banana stalk krathong are also biodegradable, but Styrofoam krathongs are sometimes banned, as they pollute the rivers and may take years to decompose. A krathong is decorated with extravagantly-folded banana leaves, incense sticks, and a candle. A small coin is sometimes included as an offering to the river spirits.
On the night of the full moon, the Thai people launch their krathong on a river, waterway or a pond, making a wish as they do so. The festival may originate from an ancient ceremony paying respect to the water spirits.
A beauty contest is a regular feature and fireworks have become common in recent years. The candle honors the Buddha with light, while the krathong’s floating represents letting go of all one’s hatred, anger, and violations. People sometimes cut their fingernails or hair and place the clippings on the krathong as a symbol of letting go of past misbehaviours and negative thoughts.
Lanna-style sky lanterns (khom loi, literally: “floating lanterns”) are launched into the air where they bring to mind large shoals of giant fluorescent jellyfish elegantly floating through the sky. The lanterns are made from a thin fabric, such as rice paper, stretched over a bamboo or wire frame, to which a candle or fuel cell is attached. When the fuel cell is lit, the resulting hot air is trapped inside the lantern and creates enough lift for the khom loi to float up into the sky.
Because they are a hazard to passing aircraft and “…can cause damage to important places in the areas such as the Grand Palace, temples and governmental offices” lanterns are increasingly subject to governmental restrictions.
The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations can be seen in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna kingdom, where now both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are celebrated at the same time resulting in lights floating on the waters, lights hanging from trees/buildings or standing on walls, and lights floating in the sky. Needless to say the day after Loi Krathong, there are tonnes of rubbish cleaned from the city’s waterways. If you are going to get involved in this, please get something that is bio degradable.
Styrofoam krathong might be banned in 2017.
FOR ANYONE LOOKING FOR ASSISTANCE AND ADVICE FOR THEIR HOLIDAY IN THAILAND!
WE ARE NOW TAKING HOTEL BOOKINGS (transfers), AND TOUR AND ISLAND TRIP BOOKINGS for the rest of 2017 and for 2018 as well. We book ALL of Thailand, not just Phuket, so we are happy just to answer questions if that is all you need, otherwise we can pretty much arrange anything you need for your holiday in Thailand.