Happening on 11 November 2019, Loy Krathong is the second largest festival in Thailand after Songkran, the Thai New Year.

Known as the festival of light, it marks an occasion to celebrate hope and love, banish bad luck and welcome good fortune.

Photo from Adobe Stock

What is Loy Krathong all about?

The festival of light is celebrated annually on the evening of the 12th lunar month of the Thai calendar. 

Loy means “to float” while Krathong means a “raft”. The krathong is a small lotus-shaped vessel fashioned out of a banana stem or bark and adorned by exquisitely woven banana leaves. 

The festival pays homage to the river goddess, Ganga, known as Pra Mae Khongkha. Celebrants ask for forgiveness for polluting the rivers and also to thank her for providing water which sustains life, agriculture and livestock farming. It is also a time to banish misfortune, unhappiness and ill health, and make wishes for the coming year.

Also regarded as a Thai festival of love, it is said that if the krathong which is set adrift by a pair of lovers remains afloat together until they drift out of sight, their love will last forever. If the krathong floated by each of the lovers drifts apart, this is not regarded as a good omen.

Photo from Adobe Stock

Symbols of Loy Krathong

Thais believe that launching the krathong on a river symbolically releases all negativity by letting their troubles drift away. The four components of a krathong–a candle, joss sticks, flower and coin–symbolise aspects of Buddhism. 

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The candle represents knowledge and wisdom; the joss sticks (usually three) symbolise purity and sympathy; the flower represents respect for Buddhist monks; and the coin signifies the making of merit to gain blessings and wealth. 

Some worshippers leave strands of hair or nail clippings in the krathong to rid themselves of bad luck. If the candle remains burning while the krathong drifts out of sight, this portends good fortune in the year ahead.

Loy Kratong Festival at The Sukhothai Historical Park. Photo from Adobe Stock

Places to Celebrate

We have narrowed down six main places to experience Loy Lrathong in Thailand this year. Read more about the places to celebrate here.

Text by Angela Goh Edited by Jessy Wong

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