The Loi Krathong Festival is the most beautiful festival in all of Thailand. Imagine thousands of illuminated sky lanterns, called Khom Loy, floating silently up into the night sky. The entire sight is magical.
During this picturesque festival, locals flock to rivers, lakes, and the ocean where they release lotus shaped rafts decorated with incense, candles, and flowers onto the water. Flickering candles can be seen on the horizon for miles out to sea.
The exact origin of the festival remains unknown, but there are a few legends that are being circulated today. One of the more popular legends dates back to around 800 years ago in the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai where there was a lady from the Royal Court who had impressive artistic skills that would craft lotus shaped Krathongs. She would use banana leaves, candles, and incense, and would float them out into the water in respect of Buddha.
Today, the festival is used more as a symbolic gesture of floating away your bad luck and misfortunes.
There is no exact date of the Loi Krathong Festival because it varies from year to year. It takes place In November during the full moon on the twelfth lunar month. It is a highly anticipated event in many countries in SE Asia.
Tourists can purchase their own krathong from one of the many makeshift displays selling them during the festival. Tradition states that one should go to the water, light the candles and incense that are provide, and have their entire family hold the krathong together as a group. After that, you should make a wish and push the krathong down the stream. It is best to try and follow the light with your eyes for as long as possible.
It is said that if your krathong floats away from you, then the following year will bring you good luck and good fortune; however, if the krathong floats back toward the shore, it will bring misfortune and bad luck.
It is also said that you can help ensure good fortune will come your way by adding something personal into the krathong such as finger nail clippings, a lock of hair, or even coins.
This remarkable festival is a great way of strengthening family relationships and bringing them together as a whole.
The festival is widely popular across all of Thailand, but the best place to experience this stunning event is in Chiang Mai. This is especially true for watching the Khom Loy lift off into the darkness above.
Guests can also easily purchase sky lanterns in Chiang Mai and the local vendors will be happy to show you how to light them and use them properly. Watching hundreds of these lanterns go up like miniature hot air balloons all at once is incredible.
Also, huge parades are held in which large floats are decorated to look like giant krathongs, each of which has their own theme. Also, the participants in the parade dress up like mythical Thai heroes or in traditional Thai clothing.
Regardless of where visitors decide to join the festival, it will surly prove to be an unforgettable experience that feels like it came directly out of a dream or even a fairytale.