Loi Krathong festival (ประเพณีลอยกระทง) is celebrated throughout Thailand. It takes place on the evening of the full moon night of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar which is a great flood season; it usually falls in November (พฤศจิกายน).
The word ลอย /loi/ means ‘to float’ and Krathong กระทง /grà-tong/ is a small lotus-shaped floating receptacle.It could be made from anything; traditionally it is made of banana leaves and banana trunks. Today the banana trunk core is sometimes replaced by styrofoam, paper, ice-cream cones, bread (baked into the form of a traditional krathong or a cute floating turtle). The banana trunk and bread krathongs are obviously eco-friendly, so better choices for you and your family.
The raft is decorated with flowers, a candle and an incense stick. People often leave a one-Baht coin, a lock of the hair and nail clippings in the Krathong.
FUN LOY KRATHONG FACTS
– According to a 2010 article in Manager Online, a survey by a certain condom company indicates that Loy Krathong is the festival, second to Valentine’s Day, where teenagers lose their virginity.
– Strands of hair, nail clippings or even bits of clothes that one doesn’t use anymore are often put into krathong according to the belief that it will get rid of the bad stuff from the past.
– Coins are added to krathong to bring wealth and as a way of making merit.
– For the romantic at heart and young couples, Loi Krathong is the time to make a wish for happiness together and success in love.
(Source: Bangkok Post)
The history of Loi Krathong festival
The celebrations as we know them today date back to the 13th century reign of King Ramkamhaeng the Great of Sukhothai. The first Krathong was created by ‘Nang Noppamas นางนพมาศ’ a beautiful consort of the King’s grandson, King Lethai.
Loi Krathong in Thailand originated as Loy Phra Pra Teip ลอยพระประทีป or ลอยโคม Loy Khom (floating lantern). After that, Noppamas created krathong, like lotus-shaped, for floating in the river instead of floating lantern. It was used for worshipping the foot-print of Buddha at Nammathanati River beach in Thakkhinabodh district, India.
Thai people believe that the purpose of the Loi Krathong festival are:
– To ask for forgiveness “Pra Mae Khongkha พระแม่คงคา” (The goddess of water) for any misdeeds against her – we use and drink water, moreover we often throw in rubbish and pollute the water.
– To worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River beach in India.
– To fly away misfortune and bad things.
How to float a Krathong
Before floating the Krathong down the river or in the pond , there were a few things to be done;
1. Put a strand of you hair and bits of nails in the Krathong
2. Put some money in (usually coins)
3. Light the candle and incense
4. Make wishes
5. Let the Krathong go
A snip of hair and nails is used to represent all that bad stuff and a few coins as a bribe to the great water goddesses. The candle and the joss stick are lit to make wishes or ask for good luck and forgiveness from Pra Mae Khongkha, then you can put the Krathong in the water and watch it float away.
Some people believe that if the Krathong capsizes, it means bad luck. Some young people believe that if a couple float Krathong together it could cause them to break up – I think it is just a silly belief.
Loi Krathong at the present
Noppamas beauty pageants contests (การประกวดนางนพมาศ) are often a feature the Loi Krathong celebrations at the temples and tourist places. There are many entertainment shows and fireworks at night.
Where to join Loi Krathong festival
Loy Krathong in Bangkok
From 21st – 25th November, the “River Festival 2015 — The River of Culture” will take place to celebrate the Loy Krathong Festival at seven attractions along the Chao Phraya River under the concept of “conserving waterways”. The seven places are Wat Pho, Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Prayoon, Wat Kanlaya, Tha Maharaj, Asiatique and Yod Phiman River Walk.
Throughout the six-day festival, there will be complimentary shuttle boat services available on two routes: a return shuttle boat service between Asiatique and Yod Phiman and a circle service on the Yod Phiman-Wat Pho-Tha Maharaj-Wat Arun-Wat Kanlaya-Wat Prayoon route. From Nov 23-25, the “Colour Of The River: Loy Krathong Festival” will take place at Nakhara Phirom Park near Rama VIII Bridge from 5-10pm on the first two days and 5pm-midnight on Nov 25.
The event will feature the procession of seven floats, the procession of krathongs, a fireworks show, the Loy Krathong Interactive Exhibition & Display, the demonstration of krathong making and Thai cooking, the eco-friendly krathong decoration DIY and traditional costume wearing.
THAI LANGUAGE LEARNING: “Happy Loi Krathong Day”
สุขสันต์วันลอยกระทง /sùk-săn wan loi grà-tong/
Where are you going to loi Krathong this year? 🙂
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