Thailand’s visually stunning Loi Krathong festival is as fascinating as it is beautiful. ‘Loi’ means to float, while ‘Krathong’ refers to a lotus shaped container which floats on water.

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Loi Krathong is an auspicious annual festival celebrated throughout Thailand and even in some parts of Burma and Laos. The name means ‘Floating Crown’ and ‘Floating Decoration’.  The festival insures a fresh start and takes away a person’s bad luck. It is packed with ornate parades, concerts, beauty pageants, family celebrations, mouthwatering Thai treats and, of course, krathong. Made from a crafty combo of banana leaves, lotus flowers, candles and incense, these floating rafts are sent flaming down Thailand’s waterways, carrying away all negativity. Thais practice this festival on a full moon night. This usually falls in the month of November.

The festival may originate from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits.

Government offices, corporations and other organizations big large decorated krathongs. There are competitions for the best such krathong. A beauty contest is a regular feature and fireworks have become common in recent years.

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Loi Krathong is often claimed to have been begun in the Sukhothai by a court lady named Nopphamat. However, it is now known that the Nopphamat tale comes from a poem written in the early Bangkok period.  According to H.M. King Rama IV, writing in 1863, it was a Brahmanical festival that adapted by Thai Buddhists in Thailand to honor Buddha, Prince Siddhartha Gautama. The candle venerates the Buddha with light, while the krathong’s floating symbolizes letting go of all one’s hatred, anger, and defilements. People sometime cut their fingernails or hair and placed the clippings on the krathong as a symbol of letting go of negative thoughts. However, many ordinary Thai use the krathong to thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha

Amelia Loi KrathongPu Loi Krathong