Loy Krathong or the Festival of Floating Bowls, conventionally performed on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, is the most beautiful of all Thai Buddhist festivals. The floating of the ‘Krathong' – a banana–leaf cup – is intended to float away ill fortune. Illuminated bowls floating over the water capture the imagination of the viewer. Loi Krathong Festival is celebrated in all parts of Thailand, including Pattaya. Places where there are rivers, canals or sources of water, the festival acquires unique features.
Loy means 'to float' and Krathong means 'a little basket-boat containing small flowers and other offerings'. On the festival, krathongs are floated over the water. Hindus take the ritual as a way to pay respect to Mother Water. Buddhists regard it as the symbol of the journey of human soul across the world of flesh and blood. For the commoners it floats away their ill-fortune.
Ways of the festival are simple. People light the joss stick and the candle, express a wish, put the krathong on the water surface and let it float away. Krathongs are traditionally made of banana leaves, spider lily plant or banana trunk. Food, flowers, joss sticks, betel nuts, coins and candles are kept in them. People float these krathongs and watch them with joy. Whole of Pattaya wears a festive look on this occasion.
Variety of Krathongs
On this occasion, Thais also make highly elaborate hanging krathongs. These artistic krathongs are usually displayed around water bodies. Huge artistic krathongs floating on water make an intriguing scene. In several parts of Thailand, many people float paper balloons filled with hot air. These are also called floating lanterns. When scores of these lanterns slowly move up the air, they make a delightful view.
History of the Festival
Older Thais tell that the Festival started in the ancient Thai capital of Sukhothai more than 700 years ago.