Nearly all visitors to Thailand agree that in this land of festivals, it is Loi Krathong that stands out as the most charming. This water-based celebration falls on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month and in the evening, people head out to the kingdom’s waterways, rivers and ponds to launch their krathongs. These are candlelit floats, made from the stalk of banana plants and decorated with incense, offerings, flowers and candles. They are then floated out onto the water as a way of paying respect to the water spirits to thank them for their bounty as well as to apologise to rivers and streams for pollution and for their use of water over the year.
The annual ceremony is a time of special celebration in Thailand. The rains have mostly ended gone and the weather is cool, so people take the chance to get out for the evening, socialise and enjoy many fun activities as well as making and floating krathongs. So there are also beauty contests, performances of traditional music and dance, and dramatic firework displays as well as temple fairs held nationwide. It is a great time to see Thai people at their most fun loving while enjoying a genuinely beautiful spectacle.
This year, the Loi Krathong festival falls on 14 November and there are a range of celebrations going on up and down the kingdom. Here are some of the locations where where local ways of celebrating Loi Krathong offer unique experience of different culture in various parts of the kingdom.