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How is Loi Kratong celebrated in Thailand?


A boat that sails along the river

The annual holiday called Loi Kratong is famous all over the world by its beautiful processions, which play an important role for the Thais. Loi Kratong is translated as “a boat that sails along the river”. The Thais thank the goddess of water for her gifts by launching beautiful boats from the banana leaves. Water is very important in their daily lives. Drinking water helps to survive in a tropical climate, water irrigates fields and lands that bear fruits. A rich water world provides seafood, without which it is impossible to imagine the Thai cuisine, and numerous canals and rivers are used as a transport system that facilitates domestic trade.

Loi Kratong is celebrated on the eleventh or twelfth full moon of the year. Usually this date falls on November. For example, the date of the holiday falls on the 23rd of November in 2018.

The history of the holiday

The holiday of Loy Krathong was celebrated for the first time in Sukhothai Kingdom about 700 years ago. At that time, the wife of King Castai made a boat in the form of a lotus flower and launched it into the river during the celebration. The boat was made of bamboo sticks, banana leaves and decorated with flowers and fruits. The boat was so beautiful that the King decided to introduce this tradition throughout the Kingdom.

Making of kratongs

Since those ancient times the Thais have been following the traditions and launching their own kratongs along the river. Now you can buy a beautiful boat (its price starts from 100 baht), but most local people prefer to make it with their hands. They use only natural materials: banana leaves, slices of the trunk of palm trees, bamboo sticks, as well as fruits, flowers and coins for decoration. Each boat also has a candle. The most beautiful and huge kratongs are exhibited in crowded places.

Launching the kratongs and sky lanterns

The Thais launch their kratongs in the rivers, lakes or ponds at the territory of temples. The holiday begins in the evening when the full moon appears in the sky.

In addition to thanking the goddess of water, the boats can help the wishes come true. Everyone can make a wish and launch his boat. If the candle burns and the boat does not turn over, the wish will come true. That’s why the Thais are very happy if their boat swims away, illuminating the surface of the water with its light.

People can also add their curl or a piece of nail to the boat, in order to release all troubles and problems together with a floating kratong. Moreover, the celebration of Loi Krathong falls on the end of the rainy season, so the rivers are full and their strong current carries away all the kratongs with people’s troubles.

The Thais believe that a young couple can predict their future with the help of kratongs. If the launched boats are floating side by side, the young ones will live together their whole lives. If the boats take different courses, then they will have separate paths. Some couples believe if they launch their boats together, they will connect their destinies not only in this, but also in the next life.

Watching beautiful boats with lighted candles floating on the water surface will leave an amazing impression. Festive atmosphere is complemented by cheerful national music and numerous night shops.

The holiday continues with romantic and beautiful tradition — launching of sky lanterns. The Festival of sky lanterns also takes place in November. The thousands of lights illuminate the night sky during this holiday.

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