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15 Things You Didn’t Know About Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand


Loy Krathong Festival 2019 will be one of the most celebrated festivals in all of Thailand. Loy Krathong involves making or buying a decorated basket (Krathong) and floating it down the river for good luck. Here are 20 interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about the Loy Krathong Festival.

Loy krathong festival: floating lantern festival

1. Loy Krathong means ‘to Float a Basket.’

The word loy in Thai means to float and Krathong translates to basket, so Loy Krathong literally translates into ‘float a basket’. The Krathongs are traditionally made from banana leaves and usually contain coins, a candle, some incense, and colorful flowers.

2. The Krathong carries away bad energy.

During the releasing ritual, a wish is made by the person carrying the Krathong before its released to float down the river. The Krathong is said to carry away any bad energy and signal a fresh start for the year ahead.

A snip of hair or fingernails can be used to represent negative memories and a few coins are included as a bribe to the great water goddess, Pra Mae Khongkhathen. Candles and incense are lit inside the Krathong to make wishes or ask for good luck and forgiveness.

3. Loy Krathong originated in Sukhothai.

While the exact origins of Loy Krathong remain unclear, it is said that the festival started in the old Thai capital of Sukhothai during the Sukhothai kingdom. In the 13th or 14th century, Nang Noppamas, a beautiful companion of the king of Sukhothai, is said to have made the first Krathong. King Ramkhamhaeng was so impressed by the beauty of Nang Noppamas and the floating Krathong that he made the ritual into an annual tradition.

4. Nang Noppamas is celebrated to this day with beauty pageants.

Noppamas is still remembered to this day at the Loy Krathong celebrations through Krathong beauty pageants that are held in various locations around Thailand. The goal of the pageant is to find a local worthy of the name, Nang Noppamas. The beauty pageant includes traditional Thai dancing and ancient costumes that are amazing to see.

5. Loy Krathong is celebrated on the night of the full moon of the 12th Thai lunar month.

Loy Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar and the exact date of the festival changes each year. When following the Western calendar, this festival usually falls in November. This year’s Loy Krathong Festival will be on Wednesday the 13th of November.

6. There are two festivals in the same week.

In Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong coincides with the Yi Peng Sky Lantern Festival. The word Yi means 'two' and peng means a 'full moon day'. Yi Peng refers to the full moon during the second month of the Lanna (northern Thai) version of the lunar calendar.

During this festival masses of flying lanterns known as Khom loy are released into the night sky. Local people also decorate their houses, gardens, and temples with intricately shaped paper lanterns that take on different forms.

Yi peng sky lantern festival

7. Yi Peng might not be around for much longer.

With the closing of many releasing sights in Chiang Mai, if you have been thinking of going to observe Yi Peng, the best place to watch the Yi Peng Festival in 2019 is at the Cowboy Army Riding Club on the 11th and 12th of November and the Maejo University mass release. Book yourself tickets for the mass release now!

8. Chiang Mai and Sukhothai are considered the best places to watch Loy Krathong.

Although Loy Krathong is celebrated throughout Thailand and you can release your Krathong on any nearby body water, the best places to watch the festival are in Chiang Mai and Sukhothai. In Chiang Mai, travelers have the added bonus of being able to see Yi Peng and Loy Krathong in the same week.

Many people consider Sukhothai to be a more beautiful and peaceful destination for festival celebrations.

A lot of travelers have begun taking a trip to both cities for Loy Krathong and Yi Peng so they don’t miss out on either one.

Read more about Sukhothai vs Chiang Mai: which is best to go for Loy Krathong.

9. If your Krathong capsizes, it’s bad luck!

Many Thais think that if a Krathong capsizes, it means bad luck for the person who released it. Some young people also believe that if a couple floats a Krathong together, it could cause them to break up in the coming year. So make sure you’re extra careful when you release your floating basket!

10. Loy Krathong is the most romantic festival in Thailand.

For young romantics and new couples, Loy Krathong is a time to wish for future happiness and success in love. For centuries, it has been a festival where Thais believe they will meet their soulmates. Many couples make their Krathongs together or choose to buy one together that they both like.

During the festival, couples will light candles and incense then release the Krathong and watch it together as it floats away. If the candle stays lit until the Krathong is out of sight, then the couple will know that their love will stand the test of time.

11. The more elaborate the Krathong, the better!

Krathongs are mostly shaped like lotus flowers but can also be turned into various different animals such as elephants, turtles, or even mythical creatures like dragons. The baskets can range in price from 20 baht to hundreds of baht depending on how elaborate the creations are.

12. In 2019, Loy Krathong is celebrated for a whole week.

Although Loy Krathong falls on the 13th of November, the celebrations go on for a full week in both Sukhothai and Chiang Mai with light shows, traditional dancing, and concerts being held daily.

13. You can bring the whole family to celebrate.

People of all ages come together to celebrate Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals. With the cooler weather in November, it’s the perfect festival for the kids to enjoy without getting too hot. Many resorts have activities for children around Loy Krathong including learning to make Krathongs, face painting, and learning local traditional dances.

14. Alcohol is allowed!

There is always some confusion among travelers as to whether alcohol is allowed or not during the celebrations. While drinking on the streets is always illegal in Thailand, most bars and hotels will be served alcohol during the festival. But not when you are attending the mass release show in the spot, that's a no-no!

15. Yi Peng is the busiest time of the year to visit Chiang Mai.

If you have your heart set on seeing the Yi Peng Festival, here’s something to bear in mind: Yi Peng is possibly the busiest time of year to visit Chiang Mai. The city sees hundreds of thousands of tourists traveling to observe the lantern festival. Tickets to events as well as hotel rooms are in short supply. If you are visiting Chiang Mai for the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, make sure to make all bookings well in advance. Learn how to choose a nice hotel in Chiang Mai.

Discover Loy Krathong and Yi Peng with Asia Highlights

Our pre-made itineraries can easily accommodate a trip to one, two or all of these amazing cities. Alternatively, you can let one of our knowledgeable travel advisors take on the planning and help you create your own customized trip. For Loy Krathong. Take a look at some of our most popular lantern festival tours and start dreaming about your trip to amazing Thailand.

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