This is an annual festival that is held on the full moon of November, which is actually the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar. It is a festival celebrating the Lunar New Year, and letting go of negativity, grief, and ill-will while creating space for prosperity and blessings in life. The krathongs, once finished, are topped with incense sticks and candles. People will usually put a couple of one baht coins in their krathongs to bring good fortune for the following year. Some people even include a bit of fingernail or hair to physically symbolize a releasing of the negative aspects of life.
Once you have your krathong, added the coins and other bits as desired, you head to a source of water. Usually it is the river, but in Buengkan people will go to float their krathongs either on the river or on the lake.
You light a candle, show your respects to the river goddess and ask for forgiveness of the past and a good life for the future, and push their krathongs into the water. Many times people will also light and send off a lantern into the sky (thus the name, Festival of Lights). When you are in a big city, it is a truly awe inspiring scene to look into the sky at all the lanterns! And if you are a small place like Buengkan, it’s also special to be able to set your lantern go and know exactly which one is your wish in the sky.
Loy Krathong Song (in English!) 🙂
November full moon shine
Loy krathong, loy krathong
And the water’s high in local rivers and the klong
Loy loy krathong, loy loy krathong
Loy Krathong is here and everybody’s full of cheer
We’re together at the klong
Each one with his krathong
As we push away we pray, we can see a better day.