(On the full-moon day of the 12th Thai lunar month, November)
Loi Krathong is the most romantic festival of this country. This annual festival takes place on the evening of the full moon day of the 12th month in the Thai lunar calendar, which usually falls in November when the water level is high and the weather is pleasantly cool. The purpose of this festival is to pay homage and give thanks to the Goddess of Water.
On the night of Loi Krathong day, Thai people will go to the nearby river, canal, lake or pond, say their wishes and float their colourful krathongs on the water after lighting the candles. The word loi literally means “to float,” while krathong refers to the lotus-shaped container. So loi krathong simply means to float such container on the water. As the festival's highlight is made by the lights from hundreds of candles that twinkle on the water, it is also known as the “Festival of Lights”.
Traditionally, the krathong is made from a cross section of a banana tree trunk and decorated with banana leaves and flowers. But some modern krathongs are often made of bread or Styrofoam. A bread krathong will soon disintegrate and be eaten by fish. The banana trunk krathongs are also biodegradable, but the use of Styrofoam krathongs is strongly discouraged by the government, since they pollute the water and are very difficult to decompose. Normally, people will put flowers, joss sticks, candles and coins into their krathongs, and make a wish before floating them on the river, canal or pond.
Thai people joyfully celebrate Loi Krathong festival in all cities nationwide. Apart from Bangkok, the festival is celebrated on a grand scale in these three northern provinces – Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, and Tak.