Loy Krathong Festival.
One of the most popular festivals in early November is the Loy Krathong Festival. It tales place at a time when the weather is fine as the rainy season is over and there is a high water lever all over the country.
"Loy" means " to float" and a " Krathong" is a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves. The Krathong usually contains a candle, three joss-sticks, some flowers and coins.
In fact, the festival is of Brahmin origin in which people offer thanks to the Goddess of the water. Thus, by moonlight, people light the candles and joss-sticks, make a wish and launch their Krathongs on canals, rivers or even small ponds. It is believed that the Krathongs carry away sins and bad luck, and the wishes that have been made for the new year due to start. Indeed, it is the time to be joyful and happy as the sufferings are floated away.
The festival starts in the evening when there is a full moon in the sky People of all walks of life carry their Krathongs to the nearby rivers. After lighting candles and joss-sticks and making a wish, they gently place the Krathongs on the water and let them drift away till they go out of sight.
A Beauty Queen Contest is a important part of the festival and for this occasion it is called " The Noppamas Queen Contest" . Noppamas is a legendary figure from the Sukhothai period. Old documents refer to her as the chief royal consort of a Sukhothai King named "Lithai". Nuppamas was said to have made the first decorated Krathong to float in the river on the occasion.
In November some may wonder what is going on in Thailand when seeing travel magazine ads, posters at your hotel of Thai girls dressing in traditional Thai clothing with a beautiful floating object. That's a sign indicating that Loy Krathong is on its way. All these are related to Loy Krathong, an event which does not occur on the same date every year; instead it counts on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month.
Loy Krathong Festival (English Version)
In this year 2012 it will be held on November 28, a romantic night. People look forward to going out and launching Krathongs together to predict the romance future by the direction the Krathongs float. However, this season is also good for strengthening relationship in family.
The history of Loy Krathong is rather obscure. Some believe that Krathong was first created by Tao Sri Chulalak or Nang Noppamas in Sukothai.
Others overlook its origin yet focus on the purposes of the ritual: to pay respect to the Goddess of the Water showing their gratitude on their plentiful use of water and ask for forgiveness in the ensuing pollution. Floating the beautiful Krathong away, which is the key activity in Loy Krathong,
also refers to flying away misfortune and bad things in the past and asking for good luck in the future. Although it is not a national holiday, many activities other than floating Krathong, are conducted in this festival, such as, contests of Krathong-making and Noppamas beauty pageants, local games and performances and fireworks.
If you are in the North of Thailand, you can join this spectacular occasion at Chiang Mai where it is specifically called Yee Peng -floating of lanterns into the sky. Or you can go to Tak where a line of thousand glittering lights are seen on the Ping River. When looking closer, you see that Krathongs here are made of coconut shells, threaded together to make chain and that's the story of Loy Krathong Sai.
Moreover, this year you can see Loy Krathong Sai made from banana trunk in Samut Songkram too. For sure, the festival in old cities is so famous and attracts a herd of visitors. Glory and ancientness of the kingdom is utterly alive in Phao Thian Len Fai in Sukhothai. In Bangsai District, Ayutthaya, you can feel the grandeur of Loy Krathong Tam Pratip and long boat race at Bangsai Arts and Crafts Centre of H.M. queen Sirikit of Thailand.
Staying at Bangkok you never miss a shot as well. Popular places for Loy Krathong evening include Chao Phraya River, Rama IIX Bridge, Santichaiprakan Park on Phra Artit Road, Benjasiri Park or Queen's Park on Sukhumvit Road, Benjakiti Park on Ratchada Pisek Road and other waterways and universities. These venues tend to have a lot of people and it could be very crowded.
Many of hotel and waterside restaurant offer Loy Krathong dinners and cruises. Or if you don't prefer going out into the crowd, you can virtually Loy krathon at http://www.loikrathong.net. The end of the year is near; this festival is set up for the occasion. Have fun!