» Country? Thailand.
» In a few words, what is the idea? The Loi Krathong festival is held in the month of November (full moon), coinciding with the end of the rainy season, when the monsoons have nourished the lands. This celebration is an opportunity to get to know the particular Thai social life. Ideal with family and friends.
» Duration? At least two nights.
» For whom? All travellers, of course. The ‘slow way’ invites you to learn and dive into the Thai social life and beliefs. An extraordinary celebration.
» Where? National celebration, but we recommend Chiang Mai and Sukhothai, no doubt.
» When? November, on the full moon. Book accommodation and transport far in advance.
The end of the rainy season is a cause for celebration. If everything has gone as it should, the harvest will be good and the future prosperous … sufficient reason, therefore, to give thanks to Nature and to those who intervene in atmospheric phenomena.
Each culture and religion does so in its own way.
Here in Thailand, that happens at Loi Krathong.
The festival is celebrated throughout Thailand during the full moon of November, although some cities are especially famous like Chiang Mai and Sukhothai, where the celebrations are absolutely magnificent.
The Chiang Mai festival is the favourite among international travellers, while Sukhothai is chosen mainly by the national public.
It starts by combining various ceremonies – a festival in honour of Hindu deities of Brahman origin and a Buddhist celebration in which merits are earned.
In two simultaneous rituals, lanterns are released into the sky and candles on little boats, called ‘krathongs‘ or floating crowns, are thrown into the river.
If there was a perfect celebration or almost, it would be this.
Parents participate with their children, as do young lovers and groups of friends, foreigners mingling with locals and it takes place right across the city so there is plenty of room.
As Buddhism is mixed with Animist beliefs and Brahmanic worship, those of us who come from abroad have two options to choose from when releasing lanterns and tiny rafts bearing candles.
The first choice is in honour of Buddha, who taught us the Dharma, and then we can release to the sky or downstream the heavy burden of attachment to material things and our ego, which always end up causing us grief.
We rid ourselves of what hurts us and dream about a hopeful future.
The second choice is to show our respects to the gods who control the forces of nature and the spirits of water and of heaven – Indra and the Nagas.
We thank them for the monsoon rains that fertilize the land of the Thais and, in exchange for our offering, we ask them to free us of all those things that worry us, so that only good things come to us.