Loy Krathong occurs on the night of the full moon in November. People go to rivers and canals to float Kratongs – small floats made of cork and banana leaves – to thank the rivers for their bounty and support throughout the year, and as a means of making merit and gaining good luck. Each Kratong has a flower, a candle and three incense sticks – the candles and incense sticks are lit before placing the Krathong in the water and making a wish. The sight of hundreds of candles floating down the river is quite something! Pure Thailand!. This year the event will be on 21 November, 2010.
Loy Krathong celebrations also typically feature fireworks displays and beauty contests. These beauty contests are known as Noppamas Queen Contests, named after Noppamas, a consort of the King of Sukothai in the 14th century, who is thought to be the first to float decorated krathongs. Consequently, the tradition of Loy Kratong is believed to have begun in Sukhothai, although it is now celebrated throughout Thailand, with the festivities in Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya the most popular.
In Chiang Mai the Loy Krathong holiday is called Yi Peng. In addition to the krathongs floated in the waters around Chiang Mai, thousands of Lanna-style sky lanterns (khom fai) are released into the sky, part of the lantern oriented Lanna belief in their symbolically auspicious flames.
Visit the official Loy Krathong website: http://www.loikrathong.net/en/index.php