In 2008, Loy Krathong will be celebrated on November 13th. If you search on the Internet, you may find the date listed as the 12th, 24th, or even the 27th. From everywhere I searched, the consensus is the 13th of November. You may also find different spellings with different phonetics – like Loi Kratong.
Loy Krathong is probably the best holiday festival to attend. You can celebrate it wherever you are in Thailand. The Thai people dress in traditional outfits and it is a party that lasts all night long.
In Thai, loy means float and krathong is a small boat or raft about the size of your hand. Companies and businesses may make them larger but for the individual person a small float about 6 to 8 inches around is normal.
They are usually made from banana leaves folded in intricate patterns and carry flowers, candles and incense. It is believed that floating your krathong will bring you good luck and some believe it is an offering of respect to the goddess of the water.
According to legend, in the 13th century, Nang Nopamas, a royal consort of King Ramkhamhaeng (the founder of Sukhothai), made the first krathong as an offering to Mae Nam. She set it afloat on one of the canals of the palace so that it would drift past her lover, the king. This is the origin of the belief that if two lovers set a krathong adrift and it stays afloat until out of sight, their love will last forever.
Thai people also use the krathongs to float away their problems and anger and sometimes include a bit of themselves in the krathong. Bits of hair or fingernails may be sent afloat to symbolize the letting go of bad things in their life.
Traditional krathongs have come back in vogue with the Thai government telling people not to use Styrofoam to float their bad luck away. Good to see concern for the ecology.
Competitions for the biggest and most beautiful krathongs are held nation-wide. Usually there will also be beauty contests and the ladies will be decked out in their finest traditional Thai costumes.
If your vacation spot is on or near the beach – like in Pattaya or Phuket – you won’t be fireworks. If you are in Bangkok, head for Lumpini Park or the Chao Phraya River and experience this festival.
The place to celebrate Loy Krathong is in northern Thailand – Chiang Mai. The celebration lasts for about one week with processions, open markets, stage shows and a beauty pageant. Hotels will be booked solid so book in advance.
Loy Krathong is not a national holiday, but a night when Thais pay respect to the goddess of the waters by floating candlelit offerings on any and all waterways around the kingdom.
Plan your Thai holiday in the month of November to witness this spectacular Thai festival of water and romance.