In Thailand around November, there is one festival that everybody is looking forward to. It’s the Loy Kratong Festival when the sky is lit up with hot-air balloon and the rivers are filled with a type of flower arrangement with a lit candle inside of it.
This blog post will then be dedicated to this particular festival so that you all could learn a little bit more about one of Thai’s favorite traditions.
On the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, 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.
We know that here, in Vancouver, the weather might be a little too cold for such a festival. But at least we know that in the other part of the world, this tradition remains and is waiting for us all to explore.
And finally, …. Happy Loy Kratong Everyone!