Loi Krathong & Yi Peng Lantern Festivals

The spectacular, and romantic, festival of Loi Krathong takes place in Thailand each November. The date varies as it is governed by the lunar calendar and in 2018 the festival is scheduled for 22-24 November. This evening festival sees formal and informal gatherings taking place beside lakes, rivers and ponds around the country with people releasing colourfully decorated krathongs on the water and watching them float away. 

The word 'loi' means to float and the word 'krathong' refers to a lotus shaped vessel that is placed on the water. Traditionally these krathongs were made of banana trunk, leaves and flowers but these days many use less eco-friendly man-made materials. The festival has been going since the 13th century and started in Sukhothai to worship the Goddess of Water at the end of the rainy season. These days people use the krathong more as a symbol of taking their troubles away and as a means of carrying new hopes and desires into the coming year. Loi Krathong is celebrated in a major way in Sukhothai, Chiang Mai and Bangkok with huge processions, beauty pageants and fireworks all combining to create a riot of colour and a memorable evening by the water side.

In Chiang Mai, the timing of Loi Krathong coincides with the Yi Peng Lantern Festival – an occasion when thousands of Lanna style lanterns are released into the air simultaneously as a mark of respect to Buddha. A truly wonderful sight as the lanterns, with their candle flames flickering, head into the heavens.

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