Loy Krathong is a yearly celebration that takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, so the date may vary from year to year. In the Thai language, Loy means “to float”, while a Krathong is a small floating container made of leaves. This year, Loy Krathong will be held on November 11, 2019.
Every year, millions of Thai, expatriates, and tourists bring their Krathong to the nearest source of water, such as a lake or the sea, and gently place it on the surface of the water, where it will float away, bringing good luck to the ones who partake in the ceremony.
The origin of this ceremony is not clear, but it is believed to have originated from Chiang Mai in the 40s as a way to pay respect to the water spirits and has since then spread to the rest of the country.
The base of the Krathong is usually made of a piece of banana tree trunk and is decorated with banana leaves and flowers and topped off with incense sticks and a candle.
While creating your very own Krathong can be a lot of fun and a great opportunity to spend time with your friends and family, you will also have the option to purchase a ready-made Krathong at several designated areas. In Phuket, it is common to celebrate this ceremony at Saphan Hin Park, Nai Harn lake, Karon Lake, Kathu lake and in Cherng Talay. Many beaches, such as Patong, will allow people to place their Krathong in the water, too.
Make sure to use original Krathongs, and not the ones made with Styrofoam, as those are not biodegradable. Some Krathongs are also made with a base of bread, so that fish can feast on the small floating devices.
Loy Krathong coincides with another festival called Yi Peng, which also originates from the northern part of Thailand. During Yi Peng, thousands of sky lanterns, known as Khom Loi, are lit up and end up flying in the night sky. While Chiang Mai is certainly the most impressive place to visit during Yi Peng, Phuket has its fair shares of lanterns going on, and you will have the opportunity to purchase one and make a wish.
Make sure, however, that you are located in an approved, designated area when using the lanterns, as it is recognized as a flying hazard for planes and helicopters. Usually, you will find a nofly zone nearby each airport, and huge fines can be applied if you choose to disregard the no-fly zone.
It is quite common to write your name and the name of your loved one on the lantern before lighting up the candle that will make it fly, and some Khom Loi come in different shapes and colors.