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Loy Krathong Festival

Loi Krathong in Northern Thailand

Loi Krathong

  • Loi Krathong is a colorful carnival held annually on the full moon of the 12th month in the Thai Lunar Calendar.
  • Loi Krathong is organised throughout the country, but there are specifically attractive celebrations organised in Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai where celebrations last many days. Both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are celebrated at the same time. Before the big show, the setting is calm and joyful because monks perform chants during an on-stage ceremony. These days celebrations are held not only in Thailand but also in Laos and Myanmar.
  • In 2015 it will be celebrated on 25 November; in 2016 on 15 November.

History of Loi Krathong

  • It’s believed that Loi Krathong is an ancient Indic carnival. Initially it was a ceremony where people paid their good wishes to 3 different gods known as Phra Phrom (Brahma), Phra Narai (Vishnu) and Phra I-Suan (Shiva). On the urging of King Rama IV, 150 years ago, it was later accepted by Buddhists as a ritual to honour the Buddha.
  • In this latest version people would make various kinds of lanterns, which would be donated to the temples. People would pray for fulfillment of their wishes and hopes for the future. The lights are floated down the rivers to symbolise the drifting away of misfortune and bad luck.

Illuminated Lanterns for Loi Krathong

  • In northern Thailand there are 4 different types of lit up lantern or Khom. First of all, there’s the Khom Theua or carrying lantern. People carry this lantern on the Loi Krathong parade. Later on it will be taken to the temple.
  • Secondly there’s the Khom Kwaen or hanging lantern, offered to pay respects to the Buddha. They are made in 4 shapes: the wheel, the basket, the alms bowl and the star. Thirdly, there’s the Khom Paad. It revolves around a vertical axis. This sort of lantern can be placed only within the temple gates. Lastly, there is the renowned Khom Loy.

Sky Lanterns – Khom Loy

  • The Khom Loy is actually a cylinder made of paper roughly one metre long, tied with wire circles. A tray containing cotton drenched in kerosene is hanged from the bottom of the cylinder. Often attached to the tray are firecrackers and fireworks. After the cotton is lit it requires about one minute for the air within the cylinder to heat up to lift the balloon up into the air. After the balloon is launched, these catch fire and explode.
  • It’s believed that launching balloons can send a person’s misfortune and bad luck into the air.

Loi Krathong in Northern Thailand