Loi Krathong Festival: float away your sorrow
As soon as the rainfall starts to fade away by the end of October, the cool breeze signaling the beginning of the cool season in Thailand will soon arrive. Even it is the beginning of cool season that doesn’t mean the weather in Thailand will be cold and dry just like a normal winter. Let’s just say it is less hot and less humid and that you can enjoy your trip more.
What you can enjoy more during this time of the year is Loi Krathong Festival. It takes place every 12th of lunar month.
In 2016 Loi Krathong will take place on 14th November.
What is the Loi Krathong Festival?
First you should know what is a Krathong. If you don’t know how can you enjoy the festival?
Krathong is a Thai term which refers to a piece of banana trunk that is adorned and decorated with flowers, banana leaves, candle and incense sticks. The second key word that you should know is Loi. This word means to float in Thai language. When put those two terms together this will simply mean Floating banana trunk Festival.
But why Thai people want to float a banana trunk during this time of the year? Thai people have long been involved closely with rivers through ages as Thailand is an agricultural based country. This means rivers are like their own blood veins and to show respect to the river, basically the goddess of the river called Pra Mae Khongkha, Thai people decided to make a Krathong to worship and ask for forgiveness from the goddess of the river.
Where do we celebrate this festival?
The Loi Krathong Festival is a nationwide celebration. You can go and enjoy the festival almost everywhere in the country where it has water – yes it is as simple as that. However, there are certain venues that specially hold the celebration in a much bigger scale.
Our suggestion will be Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Sukhothai . Actually there are more big venues across the country but the venues I mentioned have distinctiveness that set them apart from other venues.
Venues to celebrate
For those of you who have less time in the kingdom, you should choose to enjoy your Loi Krathong time in Bangkok. It will have whatever it takes for you to absorb all the Loi Krathong Festival’s spirit as there will be plenty of venues that hold the function as well as you can hop around the city easier when compared to other provinces in Thailand.
But if you have more time and you are not first-time participant to the festival, you should try Chiang Mai’s Loi Krathong. The Northerners celebrate this festival quite differently from the other part of the country. Instead floating Krathong along the river flow, they light them on fire and float them to the air. It is very spectacular and very famous worldwide.
If you want the authentic and historic experience then you definitely should not miss Loi Krathong in Sukhothai province as it is the birthplace of the festival.
This year the mourning period for the passing of the beloved Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej mean the celebration of Loi Krathong will be scaled down a little beat in consonance, but nonetheless the event will continue as planned in these 28 venues in Bangkok.
1. Lumpini Park
2. Chatuchak Park
3. Rot Fai Park
4. Phra Nakhon Park
5. Saranrom Park
6. Romaneenart Park
7. Santichaiprakan Park
8. Nakrapirom Park
9. Thonburirom Park
10. Seri Thai Park
11. Nawamin Pirom Park
12. Nong Chok Park
13. Benjasiri Park
14. Suan Bueng Kratiam
15. Waree Pirom Park
16. Public Park in Commemoration of H.M. the King’s 6th Cycle Birthday (Phra Nakhon)
17. Santiphap Park
18. Ram Indra Sports Park
19. Romanee Tung Si Kan Park
20. Chaloem Phrakiat Mahat Thai Park
21. Wanatam Park
22. Thawee Wanarom park
23. Benjakiti Park
24. Rama VIII Park
25. Bueng Nam Lat Phrao 71 Public Park
26. Sirinthra Phrueksa Phan Park
27. Public Park in Commemoration of H.M. the King’s 6th Cycle Birthday (Bangkok Noi)
28. Public Park in Commemoration of H.M. the King’s 6th Cycle Birthday (Sathorn)
How you do the Loi Krathong?
Now it is the fun part of how you will join the festival. First you will need a Krathong – you cannot float the Krathong without having one right? It is not difficult to find Krathong during the festival. You can find them at the street venders or, if you are a guest at some hotel, they surely can provide you one.
However, for those who really want to take part, you can make Krathong yourself. Again it is quite usual that most of the hotels in Thailand during the festive time will have plenty of activities waiting for you to enjoy, including making Krathong as well.
You can also go to the supermarket or wet market and search for the materials for making Krathong – that will include banana trunk, banana leaves, choices of flowers you like, a candle and incenses.
After you have your own Krathong, head to the water source – most likely rivers, ponds, lakes or even pools! Then you can light candle and incenses, make a wish and float away your beautiful Krathong!
Apart from asking for forgiveness and worshiping the goddess of rivers, Thai people believe that floating Krathong is like floating away all the sadness and bad luck in their lives – maybe it will also work for you as well!