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Thu 30 Mar 2017
Loy Krathong
Written by National Culture Commission   
Thursday, 22 February 2007 18:02

The full moon night of November is "Loy Krathong Day". Loy is "to float" and Krathong is a "leaf cup" usually made of banana leaf as one often sees in the market. The leaf cup is used to hold something. Loy Krathong is, therefore, the floating of lights in a leaf cup. During October and November, all the rivers and canals in the lowlands are flooded and the waters in some places overflow their banks. The rainy season is now in a sense over. It is the time of rejoicing for the weather is fair after the rains. The sky becomes bright and clear, but without its dampness. After the strenuous labour of ploughing and planting rice for the last three months at a stretch from dawn till dusk, for the country-folk the heavy work is now over. The peasants have only to wait a month or more for the time of reaping. During this interval they have nothing much economically to do, but to spend a comparative time of leisure with feasts and festivals, of which there are many in these two months of October and November.

If you go into a market just a few days before the full moon of November, you will see in some stalls or shops a number of krathong or leaf cups specially made for sale in this season. Usually in a krathong, apart from a candle and one or more incense sticks, a small coin, say a one or five satang piece, is also put in.

On Loy Krathong day, I went to "loy" with my friends at the City Hall. I bought a krathong for 30 baht and went to the river to float it. I wished to have a good life and good health. I also asked Mae Kongkla (Goddess of Water) to forgive me for my sins.

In the 1st picture: They are selling krathongs by the side of the road on the way to City Hall.
In the 2nd picture: I am getting ready to float my krathong on the river.
In the 3rd picture: The kids are playing in the river the next day and looking for some money in the krathong.

In the evening when the full moon begins to rise on November, the people, carry one or two krathongs to the edge of brimful running water. After the candle and incense sticks in the krathong are lighted, they let it go gently on the surface of the placid waters. A few folk will sometimes raise their hands in worship to the floating krathong. They watch the krathong as they float sluggishly along the water for sometime until they float far away or out of sight. The children to while away the time play with water fire-works. The fireworks, apart from amusement, are a part of any celebration secularly and religiously. We light fireworks sometimes in the same spirit as we light candles as an act of worship.

The floating krathong usually has a short life. As it floats far away from its starting place, the children further down stream will, in most cases, swim out to snatch the krathong. If it is a beautiful one there may be a scramble for it. They will perhaps ignore the common ones, but will not forget to snatch up the small coin, if any, in the krathong. It is an aesthetic pleasesure to see many krathongs with their flickering candle lights bobbing gently up and down, borne along the silent and placid flooded waters under the light of a full moon.

Information from: "Essays on Cultural Thailand" by Office of the National Culture Commission
Pictures copyright: Nattawud Daoruang