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Loy Krathong - November


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Loy Krathong (or) loy festival



Loy Krathong also spelt Loi Krathong.  

On the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month (usually in November) 
On this time 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. The 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.


Different legends surround the origins of Loy Kratong. 

One 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. 

Another version: In ancient times the King and princess were leaving their boat, the princess fell into the water and because of her royalty no one would be aloud to touch the princess and unfortunately she drowned. The king was devastated by the loss of his princess and every year he paid homage by returning to the place of loss on the river and setting afloat a memento, the occasion was to wash away of the sadness and bad memories and in time it become folk law that everyone followed the ritual.

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.
Whatever 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.

What is a Krathong

There is no equivalent word in English for ‘krathong’. You may hear people referring to it as a small boat, vessel, receptacle or container. In the run-up to the festival, many shops and market stalls will display ready-made Krathongs, or in parts so you can assemble and decorate as you wish. In the past, krathongs were made from natural materials – usually a section from a banana tree trunk, crafted into a lotus shape by using folded banana leaves, and these can still be found for sale around the main festival sites. More recently, Thais have become more creative in their craft and design the krathongs from coconut shells, flowers, baked bread, potato slices, some breaking with the conventional lotus leaf shape in favour of turtles and other sea creatures.

Where to

Although celebrated nationwide, 
it's 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.

Chiang 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. 

Bangkok specific 

Riverside Locations 
Asiatique (Riverside) 
Wat Saket (Riverside/Old City) 
Phra Athit Pier (Riverside/ Old City) 
Maharaj Lifestyle Mall (Riverside/Old City) 

Popular Lakes for Floating Krathongs 
Lumpini Park (Silom) 
Benjasiri Park (Sukhumvit) 
Benjakiti Park (Sukhumvit) 

Riverside Hotels with Loy Krathong Events 
Anantara Riverside Bangkok 
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 
Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel 
Shangri La Hotel Bangkok

Women say prayers before releasing their krathongs (rafts) into a pond during the annual Loy Krathong festival in Thailand's Sukhothai Province on November 12, 2008. The Thai tradition of Loy Krathong started off in the ancient capital of Sukhothai and is now celebrated throughout Thailand. Festival goers release decorated banana-leaf krathongs onto ponds, lakes and rivers on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, honoring the Goddess of Water. REUTERS/Adrees Latif (THAILAND

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.



Loy krathong'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.

How to make

Photos Bkk


Frequent Asked Questions 

What is Loy Krathong meaning?

floating basket

2. Loy Krathong (ลอยกระทง) means “floating basket.” These are hand made, with the bases typically made of a slice of the trunk of a banana tree or a loaf of bread and ornately decorated with banana leaves, flowers, and incense sticks.

Why is Loy Krathong celebrated?

Loy Krathong, which originated in the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom around 800 years ago, is celebrated to pay respect to and thank the Goddess of Water (called Pra Mae Khongkha) for a year's worth of her abundant supply, ask for an apology for polluting the waters, and pay respect to the Buddha.

What does Loy Krathong festival believe?

Loy Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, thus the exact date of the festival changes every year.

What is Loy Krathong made of?

A krathong is a circular, plate sized float made from a slice of a banana tree trunk decorated with folded banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense sticks. Thai people often add personal effects to the krathong for example a nail clipping, a strand of hair, a piece of cotton from clothing and a low value coin.

What do you do on Loy Krathong Day?

Loy Krathong holds annually all over the country, people gather around the rivers, lakes, or canals to pay respect to the water goddess and make wishes for the coming years by Loy (releasing) the Krathong (a banana trunk decorated with banana leaves, flowers, and candles)

Why do Thai people float a krathong?

It is a Thai tradition; we believe that floating the krathong is to send away a bad wish, to wish for good luck, to wish for good health, any wishes.

Is Loy Krathong religious?

It is believed that Loy Krathong, or 'the festival of light,' originated in the ancient city of Sukhothai, located about five hours north of Bangkok. It is not necessarily a religious holiday, but you will see many Thais praying to the water goddess, Mae Khongkha, as they send their decorated 'boats' down the river.

Who do people apologize in Loy Krathong?

Purpose of Loy Krathong

There are several reasons to float lanterns during the Loy Kratong festival, but the most common ones are: To thank the Goddess of water Phra Mae Khongkha for letting us use water in our daily lives and to apologize to her for polluting it when showering and washing, etc.

What food is eaten in Loy Krathong?

Traditional food for this festival include: Krathong Tong (minced chicken and vegetables in crispy Krathong baskets); Nua Yang (marinated strips of beef, grilled and served on sticks); Tom Jerdt Tao-Hoo Moo Sap (vegetables and minced pork in a broth flavored with garlic and coriander root); Nua Pat Prik Thai Dum (stir-fried beef in an aromatic black pepper sauce); Gaeng Khua Gai (curry made with tender pieces of chicken breast and pineapple cooked in coconut milk infused with herbs and spices); Khao Suey (steamed Thai fragrant rice); Pat Pak Tofu (stir fried mixed vegetables with bean curd).

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Loy Krathong festival

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