Curate experiences of sorts to make your life as large and animated as you can. Things to see and live are plenty, and exist in all parts of the world, which help to add more definition to human existence. One such element is the festivals.
The human race likes to celebrate all positive influences indiscriminately all along a year; and the name of this celebration is called a festival. Festival is a way to search out a breather in life to come away from the temporal distractions. Festivals are all about lights, flowers, food, music, etc wherein congregations of people indulge in a blitz at activities with friends and families. One such beautiful festival is the Loi Krathong.
Loi Krathong is one of the most significant festivals for the Thai people. An illuminated Thailand, brimming with enthusiasts to observe the rituals that replace misfortune with good luck, is what makes Loi Krathong a unique experience. Find an excuse - a new festival, a new destination or a new culture - whatever it is, but plan a trip to Thailand and holiday there during this festival. Partake this event and interiorise all the good that is intrinsic to this festival and fly back home inspirited.
What do people do during this festival?
Loi Krathong or Loy Krathong literally meaning “to float a basket”, is one of the most-awaited festivals in Thailand. It is in fact, a gigantic event with a marked presence of people every year who assemble to literally ‘float their baskets’.
The tradition directs people to make ready a beautifully decked basket, which is made of banana leaf. To achieve this, local flowers, incense, and candles are used together to decorate the basket, which as often as not, comes out attractively. People assemble with their families by the waters, lit the candles seated in the basket, and together, float it away on the water.
Why is it celebrated?
A powerful union of water and lights makes this festival a momentous time for every gazer. The Thais honour the Goddess of water and pay respect to the Buddha. The celebration of lights and water is diluted with zealous emotions, especially of the participating lot. They believe that in the process of floating away the basket, one can release all the negative emotions, and free oneself from all anxieties. As a result, it makes way for the oncoming of good luck and auspice.
How is the overall atmosphere during this festival?
Loi Krathong comes forth announcing the end of the rains and the arrival of a bright, clear, and gay atmosphere. As the festival approaches, streets start to get adorned with overhung illuminated lanterns. Boats, each decorated beautifully, are to be found on the waters. Streets and alleys buzz with happy locals and travellers, everyone on the same page, ready to welcome the festival with open arms.
A variety of local eatables line the streets, while sellers crouch down next to their collection of Krathongs that people buy.
What are the Flying Fire Lanterns?
During the festival, the people create lanterns of white colour and place a candle in the center. These lanterns are usually large. They have to be held in the air till the hot air generated by the burning candle, engulfs the inside of the lantern. This readies the lantern to be released so that it can fly up and away. The sky looks ablaze from below making it the perfect photography moment!
When is the Loi Krathong festival held?
Thailand, Laos, and some other countries celebrate the Loi Krathong festival. It is an annual festival that is scheduled in accordance to the lunar calendar, which invariably takes place on a full-moon evening. In terms of the Western calendar, it falls usually in the month of November every year.
Interesting facts about the Krathongs -
1. The floating baskets, sometimes, also carry photographs or objects carrying a symbolic significance that is important or dear to a person
2. Some people choose a turtle or an eel over the basket, and set it free in a water body
3. The Loi Krathong boats can be as long as 12 meters and are made entirely of banana stalks
4. Some locals drop coins into the basket or Krathongs
5. The Thais read it as a bad omen if the floating Krathong instead of going away, returns back
6. As strange as beliefs can get, some people put strands of hair, scraps of apparels or even nail snippets in their baskets
Unknown facts about the Loi Krathong festival -
1. Large-scale organisations as well as government offices are active participants in this festival. They launch their own Krathongs or boats to be floated on the water
2. There are many legends associated with the story of the genesis of this festival. Some people claim that a court lady was the earliest person to do the act; while others believe that it originally was a Brahmanical festival that was adapted into the Thai culture later in the honour of Gautam Buddha
3. There are pageant competitions conducted during this time that have actually come along quite well over the years
4. Chiang Mai celebrates Loi Krathong in the grandest manner reflecting grandeur
5. Lots of fireworks will be at display
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Author : Satarupa Hajra