Thailand is famous for its colourful festivals and events. The most picturesque Thailand festival of them all is Loy Krathong (sometimes referred to as Loi Krathong). Regardless of the names used, Loy Krathong is a must see festival if you are lucky enough to be visiting Pattaya at this time of year.
The festival drops on the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, which usually falls in November. This year, the festival drops on November the 3rd, celebrated across the entirety of the kingdom. Essentially, in the Thai language, ‘Loi’ means ‘to float’, and ‘Krathong’ means ‘raft’.
During the evening’s festivities across Thailand, the skies are full with colourful and fiery lanterns, thousands of them, floating up towards the cosmos creating a breathtaking skyline that can only really be appreciated by those absorbing the spectacle at first hand.
The raft is supposed to be constructed from bread, which is good for the environment, although banana leaves are usually the main material. Using the elaborately folded banana leaves and decorating them with candles, flowers and incense creates a quite beautiful and aesthetically pleasing raft. The ‘Krathong’ is lit and pushed out to sea or on a river bed, symbolically used to cast away one’s problems or sins of the previous year, as to start a new. After a few moments, the lit portion of the raft elegantly floats into the sky. When this is repeated by hundreds of other onlookers simultaneously, it is simply a breathtaking sight to behold.
Casting away the Krathong is also an apology to the Goddess of the Water for all the bad things done to the sea, rivers and lakes during the previous year. Loi Krathong is also ideal for couples, signifying a romantic moment.
Although the festival is conducted on every available stretch of water in Thailand, places such as Phuket and Pattaya are popular destinations to visit during the festivities. Chiang Mai is probably the best place to observe Loi Krathong, as the area always celebrates Thailand festivals with the most gusto.