We’ve now posted a couple Daily Digitals mentioning Loy Krathong and explaining its significance in Thailand. We’ve explained how the full moon plays a central role in the full moon parties of Koh Phangan and the South, which occurs every full moon, as well as in the celebrations of Loy Krathong. We’ve also described a little bit about our experience participating in Loy Krathong and the difference between it and the festival of Yi Peng, celebrated in the North by releasing lanterns into the sky. While we’re sure we’ve given a decent description of the festival, we thought that it deserved a dedicated Daily Digital of its own.
We’ll be honest. We didn’t know when Loy Krathong was or that we’d be on Koh Samui, where there are large celebrations, for the festival. We heard about it from an owner of a restaurant we were dining at while talking to her about different things to do on the island. To our credit, we had heard about Loy Krathong before and the practice of launching krathongs, or decorated vessels, onto the water. Loy means to float and krathong is a word for the vessels that are launched onto the water. Loy Krathong then, is a festival that involves floating these decorated, candlelit vessels and is celebrated every first full moon of the twelfth lunar month. In addition to flowers, incense and candles, coins and strands of hair or nail clippings are also put onto the krathongs. This is seen as a way of releasing the bad luck and bringing good luck. The krathongs are released to the goddess of water, as an offering and as a request of forgiveness for any wrongdoings done to the water, such as pollution or overuse.
Since we were a little disappointed that we had missed Yi Peng in the North, we decided fairly quickly that we would make our way to Loy Krathong on the night of the full moon. On the way, we saw many tables selling krathongs and stopped to pick one up ourselves. We chose the area of Chaweng as the celebrations would be revolving around the river and we thought it would be a pretty great spot. The roads and sidewalks were packed and the area around the krathong release was set up as a sort of fair. There was a food tent with live music, fairground games, vendors and a nonstop stream of people entering the area carrying their krathongs.
We both added a few strands of hair to our krathong, lit the incense and candle and sent it onto the water into the mass of krathongs floating near the riverbed. It was an incredible visual display on the water and was only made more breathtaking when one looked up to the sky where lanterns were also being released. It was a great night and we were happy to have been able to participate in Loy Krathong and the festivities on Koh Samui.