Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating FestivalNovember Full Moon Shines,

Loy Krathong.. Loy Krathong,

And The Water’s High In The Local River And The Klong,

Loy Loy Krathong… Loy Loy Krathong,

Loy Krathong Is Here… And Everyone Is Full Of Cheer,

We’re Together At The Klong… Each One With His Krathong,

As We Push Away We Pray.. We Can See A Better Day….. 🙂

See video of the above English version of the Thai song at

If you happen to be travel to Thailand during November then you should be lucky enough to take part in one of the country’s principal annual celebrations, ‘Loy Krathong’. This year, Loy Krathong 2012 will be celebrated on Wednesday, 28 November 2012.

Though a popular festival, Loy Krathong is not marked as a public Holiday in Thailand.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

A Krathong, or กระทง grà-tong, is an ornate arrangement of flowers, incense, candles and banana leaves. Each November full moon people flock to the river banks (or indeed any convenient body of water) to float [or loy ลอย] these krathongs. It is essentially a merit making exercise where people come to ขอโทษแม่น้ำ [kŏr tôht mâe náam], which means to apologize to the river for using her throughout the year.

Loy Krathong – The Thailand Floating Festival

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Thailand’s Loy Krathong (or Loi Krathong) is one of the many traditional festivals of Thailand. It is an evening when Thais pay respect to the goddess of the waters by floating candlelit offerings on any and all waterways around the kingdom.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating FestivalThe word “Loy” literally means “to float” and “Krathong” means a raft. The raft is said to be about a hand span in diameter and is traditionally made from a section of a banana tree trunk. Throughout the years of evolution, the Loy Krathong raft has been developed to be made out of bread or Styrofoam as an alternative form.

These rafts or ‘krathongs’, are small lotus-shaped boats made of banana leaves and banana tree, or environmentally insensitive Styrofoam. These these rafts are entrusted with candles, incense, flowers, and coins before they are floated down rivers, into lakes, or simply atop a still backyard pond.

 

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Bread raft was introduced to protect the environment because of the fact that having numerous rafts can lead to a huge water pollution problem. As a result, the bread raft was ingeniously created not only for the user, but eventually, the raft will become food for the fishes and other animals living in the river. All forms of rafts are decorated with uniquely folded banana leaves, candles, flowers and incense sticks, among others.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

The krathong are both signs of respect to the goddess of the water, and apologies to the River Goddess for polluting her waters during the year – in fact, the more environmentally conscious krathong-makers now use bread, which dissolves faster than banana leaves so that, after the festival, waterways aren’t left crowded with abandoned rafts.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Some people also add a lock of hair or a fingernail clipping to their krathong in a symbolic gesture of atonement, releasing them from the previous year’s misfortunes and to signify a fresh start for the coming year. Others may make wishes on their krathong, then watch them as they float away. If their candles stay alight, it means good fortune for the year ahead. Thai couples also keep an eye on their their krathong, as tradition holds that if two lovers’ krathong float down the river together, the couple will stay together.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Loy Krathong 2012 is a popular festival, with many locals and visitors is expected to join the observations.

When Is Loy Krathong 2012 ?

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Loy Krathong is celebrated during the full moon of the 12th month in the Thai lunar calendar and usually falls in November in western Gregorian calendar.

This year, Loy Krathong 2012 will be celebrated on Wednesday, 28 November 2012.

 

 

Where To “Loy Krathong” In Thailand?

If you are a visitor, you can surely see some activities in any bodies of water, including lake or river. Here are some popular places to release the candlelit raft during Loi Krathong 2012:

Bangkok: Here, people assemble in large number at the banks of Chao Phraya river to float their Krathongs. Lumphini Park is also a popular place to float Krathongs.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Sukhothai: Join the Festival in Sukhothai Historical Park. This is the place where the first krathong was said to be set afloat and is likely to be where most activities are. A beautiful sound and light show is the highlight here.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Chiang Mai: The Loy Krathong Festival takes place along the Mae Ping River on two nights of the full moon. On the first night, the people of Chiangmai take their lanterns to the Ping River and set them afloat.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Then on the second night, Chiangmai hosts an illuminated parade with large floats of beautiful Chiangmai women dressed in the northern Lanna costumes of old.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Like any good celebration there is a song to go with it, which you’ll definitely hear if you get out and about on the day.

Drown in the melody. It’s a very melodious song, and you’ll definitely want to sing and dance along 🙂

Loy-Krathong-Festival-in-Phuket-Thailand

Here are the lyrics in Thai and with transcriptions

วัน เพ็ญ เดือน สิบสอง wan pen deuan sìp sŏng

น้ำ ก็ นอง เต็ม ตลิ่ง náam gôr nong dtem dtà-lìng

เรา ทั้ง หลาย ชาย หญิง สนุก กัน จริง วัน ลอย กระทง rao táng lăai chaai yĭng sà-nùk gan jing wan loy grà-tong

ลอย ลอย กระทง, ลอย ลอย กระทง loy loy loy grà-tong, loy loy loy grà-tong

ลอย ลอย กระทง กัน แล้ว ขอ เชิญ น้อง แก้ว ออก มา รำวง loy grà-tong gan láew kŏr chern nóng gâew òk maa ram wong

รำวง วัน ลอย กระทง, รำวง วัน ลอย กระทง ram wong wan loy grà-tong, ram wong wan loy grà-tong

บุญ จะ ส่ง ให้ เรา สุข ใจ, บุญ จะ ส่ง ให้ เรา สุข ใจ bun jà sòng hâi rao sùk jai, bun jà sòng hâi rao sùk jai

See the Thai Song video at

The words translate more or less as follows:

On the fulll-moon of the twelfth month

The water is overflowing at the riverbanks

All we men and women are really having fun on Loy Krathong day

Loy Loy Krathong, Loy Loy Krathong

Floating the Krathong together, sweetheart please come out to dance

Dancing on Loy Krathong Day, Dancing on Loy Krathong Day

Making merit will make us happy, Making merit will make us happy

Thailand Loy Krathong 2012 Celebrations, Tradition, Origin and History

In the night of the full moon, locals will float small rafts or Krathong in the river or on any bodies of water present in their area. Some even float the raft in a basin in the comfort of their own backyard. Thais believes that this gesture is to honor and pay homage to the Goddess of the water Phra Mae Khongkha. Some believe that it is to ask for forgiveness to the things that they have done to the rivers during the past years, hence it is done during the end of the year.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

In cooperation with the tradition, government officers, corporations and other organizations creates bigger and well decorated rafts and have organized certain competitions. Fireworks and beauty contests are just among the many activities present during the festival.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Sukhothai is said to bear the origins of the Loy Krathong, but scholars recently have found out that it was and invention during the Bangkok period. Writings of H.M King IV in 1863 stated that the original Brahmanical festival was adopted by Thailand Buddhists as part of their ceremony to honor the original Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Aside from adorning the Buddha with light as represented by the candle on the raft, the floating represents the letting go of all grudges, anger and other forms of negative feelings.

Loy Krathong Festival 2012 – The Thailand Floating Festival

Apart from venerate the Buddha with light (the candle on the raft), the act of floating away the candle raft is symbolic of letting go of all one’s grudges, anger and defilement s, so one can start a new and fresh life. People will also cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the raft as a symbol of letting go of the bad parts of oneself. Many also believe that floating a raft will bring them good luck, and at the same time thanking and honoring the Goddess of the Water.

Beauty Pageants that accompanies the Loy Krathong festival is also known as the “Noppamas Queen Contests”

Beauty Pageants that accompanies the festival is also known as the “Noppamas Queen Contests”. As the legends tells it story, Noppamas was a partner of the Sukothai king Loethai in the 14th century. She was also the first person to ever float a decorated raft.

 Lanna Yi Peng Festival (or Yee Peng)

In the North, the Lanna Yi Peng festival (or Yee Peng) is celebrated around the same time as Loy Kratong. Giant rice-paper lanterns carry people’s cares away into the sky assisting them in making-merit, which is the Buddhist practice of doing good, for the year ahead. In the course of this festival, the streets of Northern cities like Chiang Mai are adorned with gilt illuminated lamps, and thousands of mesmerizing orange-glowing paper lanterns or Kom Loy float effortlessly above the city.

Kom Loy, also known as Kom Yipeng, are cylinders of rice-paper with a candle suspended underneath. The candle is lit and the lantern held close to the ground, careful not to let rice paper catch light. The hot air from the naked flame inflates the paper, and when the lantern is full it is released into the night sky. The Northern image of a sky full of burning lanterns above rivers of trembling rafts is one of Thailand’s most beautiful spectacles.

Loy Krathong 2012 in Malaysia

Malaysia also celebrates Loy Krathong in the same manner and is celebrated mostly in the Tumpat area in Kelantan. The ministry of tourism in Malaysia, realizing that the Loy Krathong Festival draws thousands of foreigners from all over the world during the celebration, has since made it a tourist attraction. The festival is celebrated on the same day as Thailand Loy Krathong 2012, on Thursday, 10 November 2012.

The purpose of Loy Krathong Festival

There are several reasons to float lanterns during the Loy Krathong festival, but the most common ones are:

1. To thank the Goddess of water Phra Mae Khongkha for letting us use water in our daily lives and to apologize to her for polluting it when showering and washing, etc.

2. To pay respect to the Buddha footprints on Nammatanati river bank in India.

3. To symbolically let go of unhappiness and sickness we put a coin, fingernail or a strand of hair in the lantern with the candle, incense sticks and the decorated flowers. Then, we let the lantern float away…

By showing respect to the Goddess of Water, we stop for a moment to think of the benefits we receive from it. At the same time, we can reflect whether we ever waste or pollute water and learn to use it more wisely.

 

Happy Loy Krathong !!! 🙂

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