The event "LOY KRATHONG" (ลอยกระทง) is a festival happening every year on the full moon of the 12th lunar month (first full moon day of November). All Thai people buy or make a "KRATHONG". It is often made of styrofoam (bad choise as it is not biodegradable) surrounded by banana leaves, with flowers and a candle in the middle. Then during the evening, Thai people go to places where there is a river, a pond to launch their "KRATHONG".
Nobody grabs the "KRATHONG" except children, who are allowed to take the coins when the candle is blown out.
On the night of "LOY KRATHONG", it is time to send a "KRATONG". People, who are not skilled enough to make it, can buy it in many small shops. Then they go to a river, a pond or even hotel swimming pools in Bangkok. Even in places where there is no river, Thai people make two small swimming pools linked with tubes in order that the "KRATONG" float from one swimming pool to the other. Then Thai people lit the candle, insert a "one Baht coin", make a wish and let their "KRATONG" float.
The first Loy Krathong festival in Thailand took place in the former capital of Sukhothai and was introduced by a woman called "NANG NOPPAMAS" (นางนพมาศ), a royal consort of King Lithai. She also initiated the tradition of decorating the "KRATONG", a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves and stems, to float on the water.
In year 2000 Kesaraporn Duangsawan captured the hearts of the judges and walked away with 6,000 baht as first runner-up in a "LOY KRATHONG" beauty contest in Ratchaburi -- until organizers discovered the beauty queen was a man (กะเทย - man dressed like a woman). Some of the contestants had complained of unfair competition saying Kesaraporn was actually male. The disgraced 22 years old beauty queen handed back the prize money a few days after. Kesaraporn had asked only to keep the Miss Media runner-up sash as a momento.
Bangkokian people go to parks (including Lumpini, Chatuchak, Saranrom, Wachirabenchatat, Phranakhon...) to float their krathong. Canalsides, pontoons and piers on the Chao Phya River are also popular places to float "KRATONG".
In Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong is also called "YI PENG" (ลอยโคมยี่เป็ง) festival and includes the release of thousands of paper floating lanterns into the night sky all over the city.
An old Thai proverb says that "When a boy and a girl are launching a KRATHONG together they will be lovers this life or next life".
According to another Thai custom, people must keep their eyes on their "KRATHONG" until it drifts out of sight as there is a belief that the longer the candle is burning, the better the next year will be.
comments powered by Disqus