Loy Krathong Festival of Thailand

Loy Krathong Festival is a yearly event in Thailand on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, usually in November. This festival has a long history dating back to the Sukhothai era and continuously maintains its popularity in the present. It is a local ritual in honor of the goddess of water to get rid of misfortunes for a better future. During the festival, people gather by a river or canal float krathong, a basket made of banana trunk and leaves in the shape of a blooming lotus. This performance is more of a prayer that the krathong will take their hardships and bad luck far away. Traditionally, families make at least one krathong as beautiful as they can, decorated with various flowers, candles, and joss sticks. Strands of hair, nails, clothes, and money are sometimes placed in the krathong, too. Before floating it, people light the candle and joss sticks and make a wish, asking for forgiveness from the goddess of water for any deeds that may have disappointed her, and ask her to take their bad luck away.

Loy krathong ⓒ Department of Cultural Promotion

This ritualistic performance is practiced throughout Thailand, though each location has its own way of performing it. There are also some fun activities during the festival such as the Best Krathong Competition to honor the most beautiful and creative krathong, Noppamas beauty pageant to crown a beautiful and smart girl (named after Noppamas, a beautiful consort of the King Lethai’s grandson during the Sukhothai era), fireworks display, traditional costume display, and many other traditional entertainment and performances.

Looking into how the festival has been carried out over the last decade, people have come up with more resourceful and impressive ways to participate in the festival. Some have used foam or plastic and artificial decorations to make a lighter krathong that can float well on water. In response to global warming, people have also become more vigilant in using eco-friendly materials in creating Krathong. For example, a krathong-shaped bread has already been created for the festival; it didn’t leave waste on the water, and it also served as a fish food. Commonly, banana trunks and leaves have also been used to create krathong.