Loy Krathong is a Thai festival celebrated in Thailand and Laos on the evening of the full moon that occurs during the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar. The date varies each year on the solar Gregorian calendar but typically falls in November. The festival’s name roughly translates to “float a basket.”
History of Loy Krathong
The origins of Loy Krathong are shrouded in the mists of time, but it is widely believed to have begun in the 13th century, possibly in the city of Sukhothai. It likely has roots in the Brahmin tradition of Hinduism and was initially a ceremony to honor the water goddess Mae Kongkha at the end of the rainy season.
Loy Krathong Customs & Celebrations
Celebrated throughout Thailand and Laos, people create Krathongs from banana tree bark or leaves, placing incense, a candle, and flowers inside. Participants then add a clipping of their hair or a fingernail, light the candle and incense, and set the Krathong afloat on a river, symbolically sending away bad luck. Beyond the Krathong ritual, the festival includes concerts and parties that last throughout the night.
In northern Thailand, Loy Krathong coincides with Yi Peng, creating a spectacular display with both the illuminated Krathongs on the Ping River and sky lanterns ascending into the night. In Bangkok, buildings and bridges dazzle with bright lights, while Sukhothai hosts a two-week festival featuring candle-lit ponds, parades, and fireworks.