Loy Krathong: Festival of Lights

“November full moon shine, Loy Krathong, Loy Krathong…” A classic song known by all the Thais to mark the celebration of the Loy Krathong festival. It is held annually on the full moon night of the 12th month of Thai lunar calendar, which coincides with the November. The festival is also known as the festival of lights and is one of Thailand’s most picturesque festivals.

Meaning

The word “ลอย” (Loy) means to float and “กระทง” (Krathong) is a small basket decorated with flowers. Therefore, “Loy Krathong” is the festival of releasing decorated floats onto rivers and into the sky. Traditionally, Krathongs are made from banana tree trunk, decorated with banana leaves, fresh flowers, candles and incense sticks. Recently, there are many variations of a Krathong, such as those made from bread, fruits and paper.

Beliefs

Krathongs are released into rivers to pay respect to “Mae Kongka”, the goddess of water. Additionally, it is also believed to float away bad luck and to make a wish with the goddess of water. Some people also put a bit of their nails or hair into the Krathong as a symbol of bad luck to be floated away with the Krathong. Coins may also be put into the Krathong to wish for good fortune and wealth.

Floating of a Krathong is also believed to predict your future. If the krathong sinks or flips over, it is believed that the owner will be faced with extremely bad luck and misfortune. Additionally, if a couple floats a Krathong together and the Krathong splits or breaks, the couple is predicted to breakup soon.

Activities

Along with making Krathongs and floating them on the river, the night is packed with fun activities. Loy Krathong festival is often held at riverside temples, together with a small carnival and a firework show. The highlight of the night is a beauty pageant of “Nang Noppamas”, a mythical beautiful lady in the Sukhothai era (around 13th Century) who invented the Krathong. Each girl that joins the contest will come with a beautiful Krathong which is part of the contest as well. The celebration will go on throughout the night with traditional Thai dance, concerts and sparklers.

If you can’t make it to Thailand during the Loy Krathong festival, why not let us bring the festival to you with our snack box!