If you’re headed to Thailand this month and wondering if you can still experience the magic of Loi Krathong, the answer is YES! We would like to inform all tourists that Loi Krathong events for 2016 will be going ahead nationwide as planned, however, some of the more high-spirited elements will be scaled back as mark of respect for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej during this mourning period.
What is Loi Krathong?
Loi Krathong is not only one of the most picturesque times to be in Thailand, but also a time to celebrate Thai culture and partake in personal reflection and self-renewal. Every year, Loi Krathong falls on the night of the twelfth lunar month (usually in November), at the end of the rainy season when the full-moon lights up the sky. Locals and tourists alike send off thousands of glittering candle-lit Krathongs along waterways all across Thailand and partake in cultural activities and celebrations.
Traditionally, Loi Krathong has been celebrated by Thai people as a ritual to worship the footprint of the Buddha on a riverside in India, but also to pay respect to Chulamanee Chedi in heaven. Additionally, it is a time to show their gratitude to the Goddess of the Water, to thank her for a year’s worth of her abundant supply, as well as an apology for polluting the waters. Today, many people believe that floating the beautiful Krathong is a symbolic gesture to send away misfortune and bad things of the past, while also asking for good luck and self-renewal for the future.
Wait, so what is a Krathong?
Traditionally made from banana leaves or the bark of a banana tree, the krathongs usually contain a candle, incense and flowers. The person who will be floating the krathong will often take a small clipping of their hair or fingernail to represent themselves, which will then be added to the krathong together with some coins. The candle and incense are then lit and a wish is made before the vessel is placed on the nearest stretch of water.
Can I visit Thailand and celebrate Loi Krathong during the mourning period?
Definitely! As usual, Thailand is happily welcoming tourists, especially those who wish to join in the local cultural celebrations for Loi Krathong. Most pre-arranged events are going ahead according to schedule, but to respect the mourning period and the sensitivity of local people, some adjustments are being made to a small number of festivals. This is an incredible time to visit Thailand, and we can assure you it will be a highly rewarding experience. Read on to learn about some of the adjustments and celebration schedule.
Where can I celebrate Loi Krathong?
Loi Krathong is celebrated all over Thailand. See below for more information for each region.
November 12 & 13 (5pm – 10pm)
Join us at Santi Chaiprakarn Park in Banglampu to learn a little about the traditions of the Loi Krathong festival and the history behind it. On both days, enjoy this enchanting park and discover facts about the festival, how it’s changed over the years and differs from province to province.
November 14 (5pm – midnight)
Don’t miss the chance to return to the park to make and float your krathong with friends and loves ones any time between 5pm and midnight. The historic white fort of Phra Sumen makes for a perfect backdrop to the festival and under the bright light of the evening’s Super Moon should gleam like a pearl. If tourists can’t make it to the Chao Phraya riverside, there is the chance to visit and float krathongs in any of the 28 public parks spread across the city.
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Download a PDF of the full schedule of Loi Krathong and Yee Peng Activities in Chiang Mai here.
November 12 – 15
The Chiang Mai Municipality has recently updated events relating to the city’s traditional Loi Krathong or Yi Peng Festivals and there are many activities, ancient and modern happening from the 12th through the 15th.
The Yi Peng Festival will kick off on November 12th, with the lighting of candles around the city’s famous moat and the Three Kings Monument. There will also be the chance to make lanterns and enter a daily contest (from 12 to 18 of November) to construct the most beautiful krathong to be floated on the canals.
The official Yi Peng festival opens on November 13th with a ceremony by the famous Tha Pae Gate and there’ll be a moving sermon recited from Buddhist scripture at the Lok Mo Lee temple. This will be followed by a range of cultural traditions unique to Chiang Mai including the Pratu Pa contest, in which front doors are traditionally decorated for worship of house spirits.
The releasing of Krathong Sai.
There will be a Grand Krathong Procession Contest in which everyone joins in, dressed in his or her colorful finery.
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According to Chiang Mai Public Announcement has allowed people to release fire lanterns on November 14th – 15th, 2016 during 19:00 hrs. – 01.00 hrs. Fireworks have also been banned.
In many ways this is the spiritual home of the Loi Krathong Festival in Thailand.
November 10-14 (9:30am to midnight daily)
The Sukhothai Loi Krathong and Candle Festival 2016 will take place in the Sukhothai Historical Park. This year, the Park will light up the historical ruins of old Sukhothai, allowing visitors to enter and float their krathongs.
There are 9,999 censer candles released at 6pm daily.
This year, Tak will organize “Loi Krathong Sai Floating 9,999 Lanterns in Remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej” by floating a thread of glittering krathongs made from coconut shells on the river from the banks of the Ping River on November 15th
Loi Krathong Sai, Tak
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “For millennia, Loi Krathong was a low-key and charming rural festival which, via a simple floating offering, marks the Thai people’s pledge with the kingdom’s water, which they rely on for life. So in 2016, the Festival is going back to its ancient rustic roots, and visitors can experience the centuries-old ceremony and make a connection with Thailand’s rich past and wisdom of its farmers and villages.”
What about lantern release in the sky (Yi Peng Festival)?
Often confused with Loi Krathong as it occurs around the same time, the Yi (or Yee) Peng Festival is a religious festival held every year in Chiang Mai to show respect for Buddha. The date of the festival usually coincides with Loi Krathong, but the Yi Peng festival is focused around sky lanterns that are released, and said to end a one’s bad luck or misfortune, especially if it disappears from view before the fire goes out.
Where can I celebrate Yi Peng?
You can partake in the Lantern Festival on November 14th with Yeepeng Lanna International at Dhudongkasatan Lanna, Maejo Sansai. The mass lantern release is at 8-9pm.
More info http://www.dhammakaya.net or call (+66)0 5335 3174, (+66) 08 7576 2224