This traditional festival of lights is one of the most beautiful and most popular in Thailand.

I waited for a while to finally publish this article on this beautiful festival, one of my favorite Thailand. Loy Khratong festival of lights is celebrated annually throughout Thailand. Loy Krathong is held during the full moon of the 12th month of the traditional Thai lunar calendar or during November according to the Western calendar. There are the beginnings of this tradition in Sukhothai but today it is celebrated throughout Thailand. The most famous places and during Loy Krathong are inevitable festivities in Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya. It is in the northern kingdom in Chiang Mai particular that Loy Krathong is an opportunity to let go of a spectacular lanterns carried by cylindrical hot air balloons (sky lanterns). Hence the name festival of lights.

Loy Krathong is one of the fun and joyful celebrations of Thai tradition.

The Festival of Lights

Loy means "float" and Krathong is a small raft about twenty centimeters in diameter, cut in the trunk section of a banana tree, decorated elaborately with banana leaves, flowers, candles, sticks of incense, etc. Some people also add a back room hoping good fortune, which makes especially the happiness of children who will go to fishing once the Krathong festival. The Krathong usually has the shape of a lotus flower, but it can also have the appearance of a swan, a stupa, or simply of Mount Meru. The festival is also an opportunity to contest the most beautiful boat.

During the night of the full moon, many Krathongs thus produced are dropped from the edges of a river, canal, lake or pond. Administrations, businesses and other organizations take advantage of this holiday to make larger and more elaborate and these are often evaluated in competitions. Added to this are fireworks and beauty contests.

The festival and its meaning

If in Thailand we find this first festival in Sukhothai, its origins are from India, deriving from the Hindu Diwali festival, during which the goddess Ganga is thanked by floating lanterns for life provided throughout the year. According to the writings of King Rama IV in 1863, the originally Brahmanical festival was adapted by Buddhists in Thailand as a ceremony to honor the Buddha. Also show reverence for the Buddha Thais by light, to let go kratongs also symbolizes the abandonment of grudges, anger and defilements in order to start on the right foot. Similarly, participants cut hair and nails, which symbolize the bad aspects of self, and put them on rafts. Many Thais believe that floating a Kratong bring luck and they do it to honor and thank them Phra Mae Khongkha, the Thai equivalent of the Hindu goddess of water.

A little legend

According to the most commonly adopted legend, it was in the Kingdom of Sukhothai in the court of King Pra Ruang a Brahmin priest who had an extremely beautiful girl named Naang Noppamart. She was very intelligent and gifted with artistic talent makes it able to make beautiful garlands of flowers. Her beauty and talent attracted the attention of the king and at the age of 17, she was admitted to the rank of royal concubine. At that time, the Hindus celebrated during the 12th lunar month a party where they worshiped their three main gods with lanterns mounted on long poles and the release of lanterns in the holy river Ganges to pay homage to the goddess Ganga - "Mother of Waters".

With the expansion of Hinduism in Southeast Asia, these traditions reached the Khmer Empire, and Thailand, specifically Sukhothai. The Pra Ruang king wanted to create a Thai version of the Hindu festival and organized a competition of "Floating Lanterns" during the night of the 12th full moon. Naang Noppamart used his talents to make a beautiful boat, using a banana trunk as float and banana leaves to decorate it in the shape of lotus leaves. Its creation won the competition and the king decreed that henceforth this Kratong (Khamot its original name) serve as a model for this new Thai ceremony Loy Kratong.

Naang Noppamart became the favorite of the king and led a happy life. To his credit include a report on autobiographical history and the course of the ceremony of the 12th lunar month Loy Krathong or.

Legend or reality? Regardless, the story adds a touch of charm to the beautiful Loy Krathong festivities and to this day the one that wins the Loi Krathong beauty contest received the title of "Queen Naang Noppamart".

Those traveling during the month of November with our private circuits do not hesitate to ask for more information about our guides, they will be another legend to share with you.

The celebrations are especially vivid:
- Bangkok: shows, parades and fireworks on the banks of the Chao Phraya, Rama VIII under the bridge
- Sukhothai: one of the most famous events Loy Kratong with his show of lights and sounds and dances Historic Park;
- Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival promises contest lanterns, fireworks shows and rafts on the river and the Thapae Gate particular;
- Ayutthaya, Wat Tha Ka Rong:
- in Suphanburi, on the banks of the Tha Chin River;
- in Samut Songkhram, the Loy Krathong Sheaf Annual Leaf Festival at King Rama II Memorial Park and Wat Phumrinkudeethong;
- Tak at Rattanakosin 200 Years Bridge;
- on the southern beaches to Phuket and Koh Samui.