Loy Krathong is a Thai holiday which is celebrated in Thailand and Laos on the evening of the full moon which occurs during the twelfth month of the Thai calendar. Because the Thai calendar is a lunar calendar, the date on which it falls on the solar Gregorian calendar differs from year to year. However, it falls somewhere during the month of November. The name of this holiday roughly translates as “float a basket.”
History of Loy Krathong
While the history of this holiday is currently lost to the fog of time, many people believe that it originated during the 13th century. It may have started in the city of Sukhothai and had origins that were of the Brahmin tradition in Hinduism. It probably started out as a way to pay homage to the water goddess Mae Kongkha at the end of the rain season.
Loy Krathong Customs & Celebrations
Loy Krathong is a holiday celebrated all over Thailand and Laos. People take their Krathongs – which are made from the bark of a banana tree or with banana leaves – and then puts down some incense, a candle and some flowers inside of it. They then carry it to the river and place inside it a clipping of their hair or fingernail. The candle and incense are then lit and the Krathong is placed upon the water. As it floats away, it is believed that the Krathong carries away bad luck. However, the Krathong ceremony is not the only part of this celebration in Thailand. Modern day participants also attend various concerts and parties all through the night as well.
In parts of northern Thailand, Loy Krathong is celebrated at the same time as Yi Peng. Which makes for quite a sight because not only can you see the lit-up Loy Krathong on the Ping River but you can also see the fire lanterns that fly up into the sky. In Bangkok, many of the buildings and bridges in the city will be lit with bright lights. And in Sukhothai, there is a two-week celebration wrapped around Loy Krathong and it features candle-lit ponds, many parades, and even firework displays.