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loi kratong main 300x150 Loy Kratong : Floating Crown Festival

Date: On the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month (usually in November)
Venue: Nationwide

Kratong  Loy Kratong Highlight

traditional kratong made from banana leafs and fresh flowersOn the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, the tide in the rivers is highest and the moon at its brightest, creating a romantic setting ideal for lovers. The Thai people choose this day to hold the 'Loy Kratong' festival, or the 'festival of light.' Loy Kratong is one of the two most recognized festivals in the country.

Loy Kratong is probably the most picturesque and beautiful of all Thai celebrations. 'Loy' literally means 'to float,' while 'kratong' refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle which can float on the water. Originally, the kratong was made of banana leaves or the layers of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant. A kratong contains food, betel nuts, flowers, joss sticks, candle and coins. The making of a kratong is much more creative these days as many more materials are available.

leaving kratong to float away riversThe Loy Kratong ritual is a simple one. One needs only to light the candles and the joss sticks, make one's wishes and let it float away with the current of a river or a canal.

On that day, thousands of people will gather beside the canals and rivers. With kratong in hands, they light the candle, put some coins in the kratong and silently make a wish, and carefully place their kratongs in the water and release them to the current.

They watch intently as the float drifts silently downstream, hoping that the candle will not go out. Its flame is said to signify longevity, fulfillment of wishes and release from sins. Altogether it is considered a romantic night for couples or lovers. Couples who make a wish together on Loy Kratong are thought to stay together in the future.

Origins
Thai lifestyle near riverDifferent legends surround the origins of Loy Kratong. The most popular version is it was an expression of gratitude to the goddess of water 'Phra Mae Kongka' for having extensively used, and sometimes polluted, the water from the rivers and canals. It is also in part a thanksgiving for her bounty in providing water for the livelihood of the people.

Some believe the festival originates from Buddhism. They say the offering of flowers, candles and joss-sticks is a tribute of respect to the footprint of the Lord Buddha on the sandy beach of the Narmaha River in India, as well as to the great Serpent and dwellers of the underwater world, after the Lord Buddha's visit to their watery realm. It is possible that this is derived from a Hindu festival that pays tribute to the god Vishnu, who meditates at the center of the ocean.

Others believe that the floral kratong is offered to the pagoda containing the Lord Buddha's topknot, which was cut off at his self-ordination and is now in heaven. Another explanation is that it is a way to pay respect to one's ancestors.

Loy Kratong Festival - Nang NoppamasWhatever the true origin, the practice of Loy Kratong first began in the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai in the 13th century. A young queen named Nang Noppamas was believed to be the one who made a small boat laden with candles and incense and floated it down the river. The name Nang Noppamas has been associated with Loy Kratong ever since.

Today, Loy Kratong offers a unique occasion to celebrate. It's a good time for people to make wishes and look to the future as they float their floral offerings along the waterways.

Where to celebrate
Although celebrated nationwide, Loy Kratong is particularly delightful in the provinces of Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya and Bangkok.

As the place of origin of the festival, Sukhothai rightly remains the focal point of the celebrations. The festival comes with a spectacular light-and-sound show held in the ancient and traditional setting of the Sukhothai historical park.

floating lanterns at Chiang MaiChiang Mai is another prime site to celebrate Loy Kratong. The festival is known in northern dialect as 'Yi Peng.' The largest kratongs are decorated floats, paraded through the town on trucks. The colorfully lit floats form a long glittering parade as they make their way to the river.

Meanwhile, up above thousands of 'khom loy' (floating lanterns) drift into the night sky. These large balloon-like lanterns are released at temples and sometimes from private homes in the hope that misfortune flies away with them.

The Chao Phraya River is one of the main waterways to celebrate the Loy Kratong festival. In Bangkok, riverside hotels organize special celebrations for their guests. In some hotels, swimming pools are turned into a temporary river for the Loy Kratong celebration.

Environmental Issues
Although Loy Kratong is an old Thai tradition, celebrated continuously since ancient times, the use of modern foam materials to make the kratong has taken its toll on the environment.

Today, instead of synthetic foams, natural materials such as the original banana leaves or even bread have been used to make the floats. In addition, kratong are increasingly being released in small canals or swimming pools to prevent pollution in the rivers. In this way, the old tradition can still be preserved while our rivers and waterways remain in pristine condition for future generations.

Loykrathong's lyrics
November full moon shines,
Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong,
and the water's high
in the river and local klong,

Loi Loi Krathong,
Loi Loi Krathong,
Loi Krathong is here and everybody's full of cheer,

We're together at the klong,
We're together at the klong,

Each one with this krathong,
As we push away we pray,
We can see a better day.


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  • May 2013 Thai Holidays


    8233524721 78e2a4360a b 300x115 May 2013 Thai Holidays

    Labor Day

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013 is Labor Day. This is a public holiday in Thailand, but not much happens to commemorate this day other than most government and office workers will have the day off.

    Coronation Day

    Sunday, May 5, 2013 is Coronation Day. The fact that it occurs on a Sunday this year should mean that Monday, May 6, 2013 will be a substitution holiday.

    Royal Ploughing Ceremony

    The actual date of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony is decided by astrologers near to the time, but it usually occurs at some point in May. This holiday is also a commemoration of Farmer’s Day.

    Rocket Festival – Isaan

    Friday-Sunday, May 10-12, 2013 is the Rocket Festival which takes place over the second weekend in May. This festival is celebrated in a number of locations in Isaan but one of the best places to visit would be Yasathon.

    Inthakin City Pillar Festival

    The Inthakin City Pillar Festival takes place over the course of 6 days in Chiang Mai each year. The date for the 2013 has yet to be given. It usually occurs at some point around the waning of moon of the sixth lunar month (around May 2013).

    Visaka Bucha วันวิสาขบูชา

    Friday, May 24, 2013 is the most important of all the Buddhist festivals in Thailand. Vikasa Bucha Day takes place on the full moon of the sixth lunar month, and it commemorates the day on which the Buddha was born, became enlightened, and died.

     


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  • October Festival


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    Fish-Flock-Shellfish Festival 2009
    (27 September - 6 October 2009: At the Viewing Terrace, Cha-am Beach)

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    Oct09 819 1 October Festival

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    The Chumphon traditional boat race was highlighted as one of the unusual attractions under the Tourism Authority of Thailand's 'Unseen Thailand' theme. -- read more


    Oct09 899 1 October Festival Visual Art: Futurotextiles
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