Every now and then, our well-traveled staff tells us about an experience they’ve had that we just have to share with our travelers. Recently, we received some photos of travelers preparing for Loy Krathong, a holiday in Thailand. Here is a little bit about Loy Krathong from Ian, one of Greenheart Travel’s Team.
In Thailand a very culturally-important holiday comes around in November. The tradition of crafting beautiful and unique baskets and setting them afloat in open water is said to have dated back to the 14th century. It is a tradition that any traveler should make a point to see and take part in should they get the chance… This is Loy Krathong.
Loy Krathong festival is celebrated annually in Thailand and marks the end of the rainy season during the twelfth lunar month. The name, translated, means “to float a basket”, because all across the country Thai people release thousands of “krathongs” (lotus shaped rafts decorated with candles, incense, and flowers) onto the water of lakes, rivers, and canals as an act to thank the Water Goddess for a year’s worth of her generous supply during the harvest season. Some believe that this is also the time to symbolically start anew and “float away” any anger, grudges, and negative feelings. If your candle stays lit until your Krathong disappears out of sight, it means a year of good luck! Many cities hosting Loy Krathong festivals are extremely welcome to foreigners participating! Even hostels and hotels often host basket decorating events for their guests.
My first Loy Krathong happened when I was traveling in Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand and the epicenter of Lanna (northern Thai) culture. While one can take part in Loy Krathong anywhere in the country, I highly suggest making the trek up north at least once; many Thai people also make it a point to visit Chiang Mai during this time as well, especially if their cultural heritage is northern. It truly is a spectacle seeing families send out their baskets afloat one after another. If you are interested in heading up to Chiang Mai, I highly suggest purchasing your ticket (and booking your accommodation) as early as possible, as they get booked out quickly. Getting to the northern city is doable by plane, train, or bus.
Wherever you find yourself in Thailand, you absolutely should try to join in on the festivities. Part of traveling is learning about and absorbing the local culture, and participating in Loy Krathong with friends or strangers is an absolute highlight for anyone traveling or living in Thailand.
Thanks Ian for sharing more about this holiday! If you’re interested in visiting Thailand, check out our Teach Abroad Thailand programs. Travel for a change with Greenheart Travel!