Loy Krathong 2023: Origin, Significance, Celebrations & More About Thailand’s Festival Of Lights

Here's all you must know about Thailand's one of the most loved festivals, Loy Krathong!

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Loy Krathong 2023: Origin, Significance, Celebrations & More About Thailand’s Festival Of Lights

One of Thailand’s major celebrations is Loy Krathong. It’s when people go out onto the water to release lit-up boat offerings made of leaves and banana stalks. Visitors from all over the world have grown intrigued by the sight of lights floating across the nation’s rivers and canals over time. Here is more about this festival, from its significance to its celebrations in Thailand. The festival will be celebrated on November 27 and every year many tourists flock in to this country to experience the beauty of this celebration!

Loy Krathong 2023: Thailand’s Famous Festival

Credits: Canva

On the full moon night of the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar, the people of Thailand celebrate the festival known as Loy Krathong. This event typically takes place in November, according to the current calendar, though the exact date fluctuates from year to year. No matter when it falls, Loy Krathong is always seen as a time for happiness, giving thanks, and fresh starts.

The words “loy,” which means “to float,” and “krathong,” which describes a particular kind of miniature, floating religious offering, are the roots of the term “Loy Krathong.” The krathongs are decorated with candles and lights. As implied by the name, the festival’s main attraction is the floating of krathongs over both tiny and big bodies of water across the nation.

Since a lantern represents fresh starts, you are expected to wish all your troubles and bad luck gone when you release it into the sky or into a river. Couples who wish for a good life or marriage together and release their krathong at the same time have come to associate the festival with love.

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Let’s Go Back In Time

Credits: Canva

There is a widespread perception that Loy Krathong first appeared under the Sukhothai Kingdom (1238–1438). The Sukhothai King’s high-ranking concubine, Nang Noppamas, is described in the classical work Tamrap Thao Si Chulalak. 

Nang Noppamas created a graceful lotus-shaped float embellished with tiny bird figurines for an annual festival where royalty donated votive floats in adoration of the Buddha. The krathong subsequently took its cues from this float. 

The tale also served as the inspiration for another prevalent Loy Krathong custom: beauty pageants in which participants don Nang Noppamas costumes. 

Southeast Asia, and even East Asia, have a common culture with festivals and traditions centered around the floating of offerings. The inhabitants of the Southeast have long believed in spirits that live in both water and land.

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A Peek Into The Celebrations

Credits: Canva

Thai folks typically begin their celebration preparations by crafting their krathongs with friends and family at home. However, many also choose to get them from nearby stores. People release their krathongs at sunset by going to rivers, canals, ponds, lakes, or temples where religious ceremonies are held. 

In modern Thailand, Loy Krathong is extensively observed. In addition, there are fireworks displays, contests to construct the biggest and most elaborate krathong, and beauty pageants known as Noppamas Queen Contests throughout the celebration.  

The festival is observed not just in Thailand but also in a few neighbouring countries, including Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. 

The largest Loy Krathong celebrations are held in Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Bangkok, and Phuket, though the holiday is observed throughout the nation. 

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Have you ever attended this festival?

Cover Image Courtesy: Press Release

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