Sawaddee torn chao, all!
Do you have any plan tonight?
Today we’re taking you to the river and introducing you to the second biggest festival in Thailand.
As we live in an agricultural country, Thais believe that Ganges, the Goddess of water (Pra mae kongka in Thai) helps us so much in terms of growing plants and daily water consumption.
And we feel guilty doing bad things to water sources—from polluting water by bathing to tossing garbages.
So there’s this time of the year, on the full moon day of the twelfth month in lunar calendar, when we say thank you and sorry to the god of water.
In case these words help you understand better, Loy (ลอย) means to float in Thai and Kratong (กระทง) is the word for small container traditionally made from banana leaf.
It’s believed that people used to launch sky lanterns (kom loy in Thai, meaning floating lantern) to the sky to celebrate the occasion (which is still practiced nowadays). The legend has it that there was a lady back in King Ramkhamhaeng’s period, whose name is Noppamas. She invented the river-floating version of the lantern using lotus leaves before there have been derived versions using banana trunks and leaves, down to paper, plastic and bread. The light stays in forms of candle and joss sticks.
There are so many funs evolving the festival.
DIY people have so much fun making and decorating their own kratongs. Classic ones are made from a disc of banana tree trunk with the leaves folded in a triangular form on the rim. In the middle, one joss stick, one candle, throw in flowers of you choice. and you have it.
Temple fair is another vibrant highlight. Called by the locals as ngan wad (งานวัด), the fair usually consists of some food stalls and games to enjoy. At some fair, there’s even a beauty queen contest.
Taking the name from the lady who first floated her kratong, the Nang Noppamat contest searches for a good-looking young woman who also has outstanding talents.
And of course, floating your lantern or your kratong is a substantial part of the festival. A lot of people also put some coins and/or a couple of hair in the float believing it will bring good luck.
Venues by the river. Restaurants, bars and even hostels are nice to spend the evening at.
Temples. Though not every temple organizes a fair for the festival, it’s always nice to check out whether the closest temple to you home has.
Phukhao Thong fair: the biggest temple fair-style event happens at Wat Saket every year about this period.
Have a great loy kratong evening !