Happy Loi Krathong everyone! To those of you not familiar with Loi Krathong it is the closest thing in traditional South East Asian culture to Christmas. In Thailand it happens on the full moon night of the 12th month of the Thai calendar, which this year falls on the 25th November.
Meaning of Loi Krathong
‘Loi’ mean to float in Thai, and ‘Krathong’ is an old word variously translated as basket, crown or decorative boat. The precise meaning is not important. The celebration, held in one form or another in many South East Asian countries, involves floating a Krathong on a river, pond, canal or the sea (any piece of water will do). The Krathong is normally made from a slice of banana tree, palm or banana leaves, or half a coconut like the home made ones above.
Make A Wish
Loi Krathong is a religious festival dating back a centuries and the candle is meant to represent the enlightenment of the Buddha. In importance to Thai Buddhists it is second only to Songkran and everyone in Thailand gets involved. The tradition is that when you release the Krathong you are meant to say a prayer and make a wish. Like all good wishes you have to keep it a secret or it will not come true.
Big Festival in Chiang Mai
It makes for a romantic evening to watch the Krathong float into the distance and a special and unique event not to be missed if are in Thailand at the right time of year, particularly in Chiang Mai where Loi Krathong coincides with the Lanna culture celebration of Yi Peng where thousand of lanterns are released at the same time as Krathong are floated down the Ping river.