Nearly all visitors to Thailand agree that in this land of festivals, it is Loi Krathong that stands out as the most charming. This water-based celebration falls on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month and in the evening, people head out to the kingdom’s waterways, rivers and ponds to launch their krathongs. These are candlelit floats, made from the stalk of banana plants and decorated with incense, offerings, flowers and candles. They are then floated out onto the water as a way of paying respect to the water spirits to thank them for their bounty as well as to apologise to rivers and streams for pollution and for their use of water over the year.
The annual ceremony is a time of special celebration in Thailand. The rains have mostly ended gone and the weather is cool, so people take the chance to get out for the evening, socialise and enjoy many fun activities as well as making and floating krathongs. So there are also beauty contests, performances of traditional music and dance, and dramatic firework displays as well as temple fairs held nationwide. It is a great time to see Thai people at their most fun loving while enjoying a genuinely beautiful spectacle.
This year, the Loi Krathong festival falls on 14 November and there are a range of celebrations going on up and down the kingdom. Here are some of the locations where where local ways of celebrating Loi Krathong offer unique experience of different culture in various parts of the kingdom.
Bangkok – In the Thai capital, it is the mighty Chao Phraya River that naturally is the centre of the Loi Krathong celebration. And at Santi Chaiprakarn Park in the heart of the old city, visitors will learn about the history of Loi Krathong and see performers and characters in traditional Thai costumes taking part in traditional activities against the glorious backdrop of the Rattanakosin temples. There is the chance to make krathongs, try traditional food and enjoy the atmosphere of the charming riverside park. The event will take place on 14 November, 2016, from 17.00-22.00 Hrs.
Chiang Mai – The Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival 2016 will be held from 12-15 November with the old Tha Phae Gate being the centre of the action. This year, there will be a giant krathong parade contest to win the trophy of Prime Minister. Other activities include floating krathong contests, krathong-making contests, religious rituals, and several other traditional Lanna-style ceremonies as you’d expect in Chiang Mai.
Sukhothai – In many ways this is the spiritual home of the Loi Krathong Festival in Thailand. The Sukhothai Loi Krathong and Candle Festival 2016 takes place annually in the Sukhothai Historical Park. This year, the Park will light up the historical ruins of old Sukhothai, allowing visitors to enter and float their krathongs on 10-14 November, from 09.30-24.00 Hrs. and there are 9,999 censer candles at 18.00 Hrs. daily.
Tak – This year, the province of Tak will organise “Loi Krathong Sai Floating 9,999 Lanterns In Remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej” on the banks of the Ping River on 14 November.
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For more information: http://www.tatnews.org/events/loi-krathong-festival-2016