Loi Kratong or ‘Festival of lights’ is one of the most important and traditional festivals in the Thai calendar, representing the close bond between Thai culture and water. Loi Kratong is held every year on the full moon of the 12th lunar month of the Thai calendar and this year it will be celebrated on the 8th-12th November.
Loi means to ‘float’ and ‘kratong’ is a small lotus shaped float, traditionally made out of the trunk of a banana tree and decorated with folded banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense sticks.
During this festival Thais will make or buy kratongs, and release them onto open waters such as rivers, lakes and the sea. The act of releasing the kratong onto water symbolizes releasing the bad things in life that have happened in the past year, so that the person can start afresh. It is also a way of paying respects to the spirits and the goddess of water (Phra Mae Khongkha), and asking for forgiveness for any bad deeds committed during that year.
Fireworks, beauty contests, large open markets and stage performances are held around the country in celebration of Loi Kratong. It is also a night for couples who can release their kratongs in unison, in the belief that if the kratongs remain together on the water it represents a long lasting love.
Another beautiful feature of this festival, are the sky lanterns or ‘Khom Loi’. Locals will gather in open air areas to release sky lanterns together. As hundreds of them are set off, the night sky becomes picturesquely lit by a multitude of sky lanterns shimmering off into the distance.
In Phuket you can join in the festivities by releasing you own kratongs on any of the main west coast beaches of Phuket such as; Patong, Karon, Kata and Nai Harn lake. Hundreds of kratongs bobbing on the waves can be seen and there is also a big parade at Patong beach. The parade normally starts from Sea Pearl Junction to Soi Bangla showcasing giant kratongs, dancers and music. Two popular sites in Phuket town are Saphan Hin Bridge and Suan Luang Park (King Rama IX).
Tip: It can get very crowded in these areas, so it’s advisable to watch your belongings.
Have you experienced Loi Kratong in Thailand? If so, please feel free to share your Loi Kratong experience and tips here ……..
……By Thavorn Beach Village Resort & Spa , Luxury villas and bungalows nestled on the secluded Nakalay bay between Kamala and Patong beaches, where Thai Tradition meets nature