Loi Krathong festival is a Thai tradition which has been conducted for a long time ago. Loi Krathong has been held since the middle of the eleventh to the middle of the twelfth lunar month, which is a great flood season- especially on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month. When the moon shines at night, it makes rivers clear. It is very beautiful scenery which is suitable for floating krathong.
In the past, we called Loi Krathong as Chong Pa Rieng- floating lantern of royal ceremony. It is a Brahman festival to worship Gods- Siva, Vishnu, and Brahma. When Thai people adopted Buddhism, they adapted this ceremony to honor the Buddhas cremated bone- the original Buddha at the second heaven ruler. They floated lantern to worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River beach in India.
Floating krathong along the river was created by Nang Noppamas; the most favorite concubines Sukhothai king. She made krathong as lotus-shaped. The king of Sukhothai floated it along the river. According to Sri Chula Lucks treatise, Phra Ruang (Sukhothai king) said From now on, on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, kings of Siam have to make floating lantern- like lotus-shaped- to worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River for ever after.
In Rattanakosin period, people often made big and beautiful krathong. According to Chao Phraya Dhipharachawongs historical annals said:-
In the twelfth lunar month on 14 and 15 waxing moon, I ask for members of the royal family and civil servants making big-sized krathongs- look like banana trunk rafts, they size 8-9 sauk width (an ancient Thai measure of length) and 10-11 sauk tall. They make for contesting each other. For example, some imitate krathong as Mount Meru – shaped and others make krathong as basket decorated with flowers. There are a lot of people to do these so they use a lot of money- about 20 chung (an ancient measure of weight).
Nowadays, Loi Krathong festival is held in mostly Thai provinces. Particularly in Chiangmai, it has krathong parade, contestation of making krathongs, and Noppamas beauty pageants contest.
The villagers in northern and north-eastern parts of Thailand often float lanterns. They are made of color paper. If they float in the afternoon, they will use smoke for floating lanterns while they use torch to set smoke in lanterns to float them in wind chill at night. We can see the light from lantern in the sky with moonshine and stars glitter at night, which is very beautiful.
Interesting stories about Loi Krathong
There are many legends of Loi Krathong:-
- Loi Krathong is to ask for forgiveness Pra Mae Khongkha.
- According to Brahma belief, Loi Krathong is to worship God.
- Loi Krathong is to welcome Buddha when he came back to the world- he had stayed in the Buddhist temple during the rainy season at the second heaven ruler to teach his mother.
- Loi Krathong is to worship foot-print of Buddha on the Nammathanati River beach.
- Loi Krathong is to worship Chulamanee in the heaven where the Buddhas hair is buried.
- Loi Krathong is to worship Bhakabhrama in heaven.
- Loi Krathong is to worship Uppakutta-dhera who observed religious precept at the middle portion of the sea.
Loi Krathongs history in Thailand
Loi Krathong in Thailand originated in Sukhothai period as Loy Phra Pra Teip or Loy Khom (floating lantern). It is a festival of Thai people. After that, Noppamas- the most favorite concubines Sukhothai king – created krathong, like lotus-shaped, for floating in the river. Instead of floating lantern, it used for worshipping the foot-print of Buddha at Nammathanati River beach in Thakkhinabodh district, India. As we called Nehrabhuddha river.
Loi Krathong at the present
Nowadays, Thai people still keep form suitably; on the full moon of the twelfth, people usually prepare natural materials to make krathong. For example, they use banana trunk and lotus to make beautiful krathong then stick candle, incense stick, and flowers in krathong. They always ask for good luck in the future and forgiveness Pra Mae Khongkha. At the temples and tourist places, they held contestation of making krathong and Noppamas beauty pageants contest. There are many entertainment shows at night. Moreover, they set cautiously fireworks. The materials, used for making krathong, could be easily decomposed.
Reasons for Loi Krathong
We can conclude the reasons for Loi Krathong in Thailand that:-
- To ask for forgiveness Pra Mae Khongkha because we use and drink water. Moreover, we often throw rubbishes and excrete wasted things in the water.
- To worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River beach in India.
- To fly away misfortune and bad things like floating sin- Bhrama ceremony.
- To pay respect to Uppakhud whom mostly northern villagers show their gratitude for.
Krathong could be made from anything else such as banana leaves, banana trunks, coconut barks, paper, and etc. Stuck with incense stick and candle to make a wish and float it in the river.
Source: Tourism Authority of Thailand