Chiang Mai has one of the most spectacular festivals in all of Thailand. Loy Krathong has become a popular destination and the biggest celebration.
The three-day celebration includes a sizable Krathong contest. Floating Krathong Sai in the river, fire balloons, parades, and dance performances.
Loy [loi] = Floating, releasing or laying something on the water flow.
Krathong [ka-tong] = A small container made from banana leaves, or a banana-leaf cup.
When we were teenagers, Loy Krathong was a tradition we had been waiting for. Excited to return to school after a midterm exam.
On occasion, this festival might occur at the end of October. But most of them are in November. The weather is becoming colder as the er wind arrives. We’ll have fun with fireworks and lanterns, and we’ll meet some young ladies.
The majority of people will be pleased that the farming season has ended and that vegetables and fruits have started to appear on the market. They are all delightful.
Celebrating the Loy Krathong
The festival of Loy Krathong is celebrated throughout Thailand on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, usually in late November.
Chiang Mai is where the celebrations are held the most and mixed with Lanna culture. It coincides with the Lanna festival of Yi Peng. It also has many tourists and good weather. As a result, here is a dream destination.
Although the events span three days, preparations start about a week in advance. You can join during this time, learn from them, and observe how they operate.
Making your own Krathong
Many locations close to the river offer Krathong for sale as well. But if you prefer, you can make your Krathong at one of the numerous workshops held all over the city earlier in the day.
Traditionally made from the leaves and stalk of a banana tree, this miniature raft is decorated with flowers, a candle, and incense sticks.
Hotels and guesthouses might even offer free lessons and parade-related activities. Or if you come across people constructing krathongs under tarps in other locations, like temples, schools, and charitable organizations. It will be able to enter and join happily.
A completely biodegradable Krathong made from natural materials. You can float your finished Krathong down the river. So if you’d like to experience this festival, it’s worth heading there early.
Floating on the river
People would say a prayer that focused on their hopes for the future. Coins are frequently placed on the Krathong to cast away bad luck.
As they honor Phra Mae Kong, the goddess of water, Thais believe that their bad luck will drift away downriver together with their lantern.
Another beautiful and moving aspect of the festival is the Krathong or floating lights. On the night of the full moon, the candles are lit and the offerings are floated down the Ping River.
Two of the best river spots to catch the festival action are the Iron Bridge and Nawarat Bridge, where there’s a vibrant party atmosphere.
Chiang Mai will be decorated with hundreds of lights and lanterns. Whatever way you decide to celebrate Yi Peng, Chiang Mai will not disappoint.
The most famous of all is the Khom Loy or Khom Fai. These are formed of a cylinder of paper about a meter high with a kerosene-soaked tray beneath. Firecrackers are placed on the tray and catch fire when the balloon is launched.
It’s believed that any bad luck will disappear into the sky. It’s also customary to include an address on the balloon so that anyone who discovers it after it lands on the ground can make a cash claim from the sender as a sharing of good fortune.
See you in November
If you’re here during the celebration, make a point to attend some of the activities, as they’re sure to be a highlight of your holiday.
As Loy Krathong is a nighttime event, it will fill your day with beauty. They will have you back in time for the lantern festival.
The other festival we have been eagerly awaiting is Songkran, which I will discuss in more detail in the subsequent post.