Besides being a lot cooler than the rest of the year, November is a great time to be in Thailand, when the Thai’s hold two of their best and most magical festivals.
Held on the full moon night of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, Loi Krathong is one of Thailand’s most important, and colourful festivals. This year it’s on November 14th.
Thousands of candles are set afloat on rivers or canals or ponds across the country to honor the Buddha with light, while the floating ‘krathong‘ is the Thai way of giving thanks to the Goddess of Water, the Hindu Goddess Ganga.
The actual ‘krathong’ is usually made up with bread or banana leaves as a raft and then decorated with flowers, incense sticks and a candle. A small coin is sometimes included as an offering to the river spirits and people will often even add fingernail clippings or pieces of hair as symbols of letting go of the past.
Coinciding with Loi Krathong is the Lanna (northern Thai) lantern festival of Yi Peng to mark the end of the rainy season and the start of the winter (cooler season), and is important to Buddhist culture as a sign of moving away from darkness into a brighter future.
Although it is held across the country at various locations, it is Chiang Mai in the county’s north which has become most synonymous with this unique festival, attracting visitors from around the world, as thousands of glowing lanterns are released into the nighttime sky.
All around Chiang Mai, colourful lanterns and other decorations are also added to shops and houses, the many Wats (temples) and at the city gates on the wall surrounding the old city district, making it a spectacular event throughout the whole city, and one that should definitely be on the agenda should you be in the area.
All this in conjunction with the once-in-(most of our)-lifetime ‘super’ full moon should make for a spectacular celebration and definitely one not to be missed if you happen to be in the area.
Can’t wait! 🙂