ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Loi Krathong & Yi Peng Festivals in North Thailand: A Visitors' Guide

Updated on March 21, 2016
A lit  krathong floating down the Ping River in North Thailand
A lit krathong floating down the Ping River in North Thailand | Source

Of Thailand's many festivals held throughout the year, none is celebrated more wholeheartedly than Loi Krathong - an ancient festival with obscure roots.

Loi Krathong is thought to have originated as an annual offering to the water spirits responsible for sending enough rain to grow abundant crops and ensure a good harvest. The Loi Krathong Festival is celebrated throughout Thailand, but it coincides with a northern harvest festival called Yi Peng and both are celebrated at the same time in the north of the country, especially in north Thailand's main city of Chiang Mai.

Loi Krathong

Loi Krathong is celebrated on the evening of the full moon of the 12th lunar month according to the traditional Thai lunar calendar. That usually places it sometime in November, and this year, 2016, it is held on the 14th of November.

Loi Krathong means to float (loi) a krathong, a word which has no equivalent English translation but, as the picture above shows, is a kind of basket usually made from banana leaves decorated with flowers and adorned with a candle and incense sticks. The festival is celebrated by floating thousands of krathongs on any rivers or canals in Thailand. Before launching the krathong, people may also insert a coin or some written wishes. Meanwhile an endless barrage of fireworks, fire crackers and rockets are being set off. It's by far the loudest of any Thai festival, and must surely be one of the loudest anywhere in the world.

You can buy a krathong for a couple of dollars at any of hundreds of stalls selling them. Krathongs are handmade and every part, traditionally, is completely biodegradable. Recently, however, some are made with a factory-produced styrofoam base, which isn't biodegradable. Environmentalists urge that you stick with the more natural banana leaf, handmade versions and not pollute the waterways. Some are even made with a bread base, which the fish can enjoy.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Launching krathongskrathongs floating down riverkrathongs for saleLaunching a ktathong with a prayerPing River Krathongs and illuminated bridge
Launching krathongs
Launching krathongs | Source
krathongs floating down river
krathongs floating down river | Source
krathongs for sale
krathongs for sale | Source
Launching a ktathong with a prayer
Launching a ktathong with a prayer | Source
Ping River Krathongs and illuminated bridge
Ping River Krathongs and illuminated bridge | Source

Yi Peng Festival

Yi Peng is an ancient harvest festival originating in the the former northern Kingdom of Lanna, which is now north Thailand. Both Yi peng and Loi Krathong are celebrated on the same day in northern towns and cities such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Yi Peng's celebrations are marked by thousands of sky lanterns being sent aloft and filling the night sky, and also by parades of decorated floats with people dressed in traditional northern-style costumes. Houses are also decorated with hanging lanterns and lit candles.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Decorated Yi Peng floatYi Peng Sky LanternsDecorated Yi Peng floatYi Peng FloatLaunching a sky lantern (kom loi)
Decorated Yi Peng float
Decorated Yi Peng float | Source
Yi Peng Sky Lanterns
Yi Peng Sky Lanterns | Source
Decorated Yi Peng float
Decorated Yi Peng float | Source
Yi Peng Float
Yi Peng Float | Source
Launching a sky lantern (kom loi)
Launching a sky lantern (kom loi) | Source
Source

The best of both in Chiang Mai

So, with both festivals going on at the same time, Chiang Mai is a very good place to be because both the river and the night sky are filled with lights. Candle-lit krathongs float lazily down the River Ping and rockets shoot skywards in celebration of Loi Krathong while sky lanterns drift gracefully across the sky, and highly decorated floats travel through the streets in celebration of Yi Peng.

The best places to go are Tha Phae Gate (See 1st map below) where there are lots of sky lanterns (kom loi) being launched; and Nawarat Bridge, (See 2nd map below) which is illuminated with coloured lights and where lots of krathongs are being launched from the river embankment below the bridge and sky lanterns being launched from the bridge itself. Although, it's a bit crowded, you can easily walk from one place to the other along Tha Phae Rd to Nawarat Bridge. The bridge is also a good place to see the krathongs floating below and also to see the many professional fireworks displays being set off at various locations across the city. There are many other places, too, such as all river bridges and boat landing piers.

Tha Phae Gate - ChiangMai

Nawarat Bridge

© 2015 chasmac

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)