Loy Krathong Festival In Thailand
LOY KRATHONG FESTIVAL
This festival takes place normally in November in Thailand, depending on the lunar calendar. The festival is believed to originate in an ancient practice of paying respect to the spirit of the waters. The festival involves placing "Krathongs" (decorated floats) on the water with lit candles and letting them float away into the dark night. The legend states that when the "Krathong" floats away into the distance .. your problems, anger and troubles go along with it. Another tradition on this Thai holiday is the practice of lighting lanterns that float away into the night lighting up the sky. Thai people also decorate their houses with candles and ornaments during the days leading up to the Loy Kratong Festival.
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The Loy Krathong Festival is considered to be a romantic holiday for new couples. The float (or Krathong) is normally made of the stalk of a banana tree, surrounded by banana leaf, and flowers. There will be several candels arranged in the center of the float that will meant to be lit just prior to launch. Thai people usually choose to make their own floats, especially if it is meant to be romantic, however.. there are several vendors that are selling pre made floats at any location near the water. The rivers and lakes of Thailand are covered with these candle lit floats every year on this holiday.
The festival is more about the floats than the lanterns, personally I find the lanterns far more impressive. For only 100THB(3USD), you can purchase 3 lanterns. The lanterns have a thin paper outer layer, and a small wax fuel source in the bottom center. When the fuel source has been lit, the lantern expands with hot air, and eventually the lantern will float up, up, and away into the night. Watching the lantern go higher and higher, is quite the experience. Once the lantern's fuel source is burned out, it will fall harmlessly to the ground.
If you are travelling through Thailand, I would recommend that you try to arrive in Chiang Mai for the Loy Krathong Festival. I have had some wonderful experiences in Phuket, and in Bangkok on this holiday, but nothing compares to the festival in Chiang Mai. The people of Northern Thailand have a reputation for being very friendly, and they love to celebrate. This is never more apparent than in April during the festival of Songkran, when the people of Chiang Mai celebrate for almost 2 weeks, when those in Phuket and Bangkok only celebrated for 1 or 2 days. If you have not visited Chiang Mai, you have missed out on one of the best attractions that Thailand has to offer!