Loy Kratong Festival of Lights


Definitely the most romantic of the Thai festivals, Loy Kratong is a must-experience for those visiting the land of smiles. Held on the night of the 12th full moon, Loy Kratong falls in November, and on this year it will be on the 24th of the month. Although the influx of western culture has brought with it Valentines Day on February 14th, Loy Kratong is Thailand’s original festival for lovers.
Originating as a Brahmanical festival adopted by Thai Buddhists during the reign of Rama IV in1863, Loy Kratong is a ceremony that venerates the Lord Buddha by offering floating trays laden with flowers, candles and incense. Loy translates to “float” in Thai, while Kratong pertains to a tray made from banana leaves. The light from the candle honors Lord Buddha, while the act of floating symbolizes the release of anger, resentment or any tarnishing of one’s character. It is a way for a person to make amends and start afresh.


In addition to this, most Thais also float their kratong to honor the goddess of the rivers and waterways, Mae Nam, who they believe will bring good luck. This ties in with the romantic element of Loy Kratong which stems from a legend about Nang Nopamas, who was a royal consort to King Ramkhamhaeng (founder of Sukhothai).
According to legend, Nopamas made the original Loy Kratong to appeasen Mae Nam, and set it afloat in the palace canals so that it would pass by her lover, the King. The King was enchanted by this creation and by Nang Nopamas forever after, hence the belief that if two lovers set a kratong into a waterway and it stays afloat until it has left sight, their love will last forever.


During Loy Kratong you’ll see men and women dressed in beautiful cultural outfits. If you can only make it to Thailand and witness one festival this is the one not to miss!

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