Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand

Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand

วันที่นำเข้าข้อมูล 21 Nov 2023

วันที่ปรับปรุงข้อมูล 21 Nov 2023

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Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand

Loy Krathong is one of Thailand’s national festivals. It was announced as an item on the list of national intangible cultural heritage in 2011, in the category of social practices, rituals, customs, and festivals. Thailand is set to propose the annual Loy Krathong festival for inclusion in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list. This year, the Royal Thai Embassy, with support from the Thai Community, demonstrated how to make Krathong at the Thai Festival in Moscow 2023 on 5-7 August 2023 at the Hermitage Garden. We are pleased to promote Thai culture to wider public in Russia.

General Information about “Loy Krathong Festival”

Loy Krathong “What is Loy Krathong? Why? Who benefits from Loy Krathong Festival?

Loy Krathong is one of Thailand’s national festivals. It was announced as an item on the list of national intangible cultural heritage in 2011, in the category of social practices, rituals, customs, and festivals. 

There are several explanations and legends about the origin of Loy Krathong. But the most reliable assumption is that the festival has been traditionally practiced for a long time in this land of “Suvarnabhimi,” meaning the “Golden Land.”

The cultural event similar to Loy Krathong in Thailand also takes place in India, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. In the flood season, people who depend on waterways for their cultivation will place a Krathong, which is a float of various sizes, on the water. The floating of Krathong is meant to pay gratitude to the Goddess of Water, or sacred beings, for giving water and the fertility of the soil.

When do people organize the Loy Krathong Festival?

Thai people celebrate Loy Krathong Festival on the full-moon night of the 12th lunar month. This festival varies from region to region of the country. In the Central region, it is commonly held as a joyous event, with performances and a fireworks display. People usually make Krathong from banana leaves or a banana tree trunk. The Krathong contains some flowers, candles, and joss sticks. People gather on the river banks and canals. They make a wish and launch their Krathong on the water to seek pardon from the Goddess of Water for their sins in polluting waterways. 

In the Northern region, people float Krathong in order to send lanterns, flowers, candles, and joss sticks to pay homage to the Buddhist monk Upagupta, an Arahant who is believed to live underwater. In celebrating this festival, people clean their houses, decorate the Buddha shelf with flowers, and light lanterns, or candles, as offering to Buddha. They also make the “turning lantern,” called “Khom Phat” to decorate the temple, and also listen to the Mahajati preaching throughout the night. Lanterns are also released into the sky to worship the Chulamani Pagoda in heaven.

In the South, no Loy Krathong Festival was celebrated on the full-moon night of the 12th lunar month in the past. On this occasion, people made a float containing food and released it into waterways. They believed that the float would carry away sins misfortunes, and sickness. 

In the Northeast, Loy Krathong Festival is caled “Illuminated Boat Procession.” It is held on the occasion of Buddhist Lent, between the 15th day of the waxing moon of the 11th lunar month. People will gather into a group at a temple near their homes, and the group will arrange boat races and an illuminated boat procession to celebrate thus special occasion.

Value of Loy Krathong Festival

Loy Krathong Festivals in all regions of the country may differ in detail, but they share cultural value that reinforce the bonds of unity between families and communities and contributes to Buddhism and Thai society as a whole.

For families, Loy Krathong provides the opportunity for family members to carry out activities together. They may also show resptect in remembrance of their deceased ancestirs on this occasion.

As for communities, Loy Krathong Festival helps promote unity and affection among the people through socialization and joyous activities. It will promote local handicrafts and artisans, as well. Loy Krathong also contributes to Buddhism, as people take this opportunity to make merit, observe Buddhist precepts, and pracetice Buddhisht teachings.

Moreover, Loy Krathong Festival is also significant to society, as it encourages people to care for the envoronment. The festival creates awareness on the importance of rivers and canals.

Conclusion

The value of Loy Krathong in various dimensions is considered a key factor in keeping the country’s cultural heritage alive through generations. Numerous people continue to practice this time-honored festival on a wide scale, and it has become one of Thailand’s unique identities.

 

Source: The Cultural Promotion Department, Ministry of Culture of Thailand

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Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand