The picture of people squeezing close to a bank of the river with a small basket decorated with candles and flowers in hands might look particular for a foreigner who first came to Thailand. But we, as Thai people, are definitely familiar with this scene. It’s Loy Krathong Festival that is going to happen tonight!
The Festival Background
The history of Loy Kratong is claimed to originate in Sukhothai period and it has turned to be a mythical tale to be told to the children. Yet, to give clearer background of Loy Krathong, it is an occasion once in a year when people ask pardon from the goddess of river. Since in the past, the livelihood of Thais has always settled along the river. The river facilitate people to travel from place to place by boat and at the same time, it is the resource of water consumption. Making use of water for so long, we sometime might neglect the value of water and we might have done something wrong to it. Loy Kratong festival, therefore, has become a chance to recognise this gratitute again.
The festival ususally takes place in November. However, the schedule is not definite as Loy Krathong festival falls on every full moon day of the 12th month in Thai lunar calendar. One reason why it has to be a full moon is due to the fact that water in the river increases upto the highest level on this day.
What is Kratong?
Kratong is a buoyant object representing a flower basket to pay respect to Phra Mae Khongkha or the goddess of the river. In the old time, it was originally made of a sliced trunk of a banana tree. To be more adaptive with the current trend, the modern kratong can be made of styrofoam, paper, vegetable or bread. The later material is becoming popular since after it floats along the river, the bread krathong would become a dinner for the fish in the river.
Where can we join Loy Kratong festival in Bangkok?
Apart from krathong floating activity, the festival will be highlighted with fairs,parades, concerts and beauty pageants. One of the biggest Loy Krathong festivals in Bangkok this year is “River Festival 2015” organised by the cooperation of Tourism Authority of Thailand and a private sector, Thai Beverage PCL. The event is separated into seven different areas including Wat Arun Ratchawararam, Maharaj Pier and Asiatique the Riverfront and opens from 4 pm to 11 pm.
Another landmark of Loy Krathong festival is the Golden Mountain in Phra Nakhon District. You can try Thai local snack and games at the fair. University campuses are also a place that will open for public to release their krathong. But, please expect crowd squeezing throughout every place in Loy Kratong festival.
Where else we should go?
Chiangmai and Sukhothai are also famous for Loy Krathong festival. Participants in these festival should not miss to release the paper lantern up to the sky. Thousands of released lanterns scattering over the sky will lighten up the darkness and the joy of Loy Krathong festival.