On November 21, 2010 the Kingdom of Thailand and certain parts of Laos celebrated the Loi Krathong Festival. Loi Krathong takes place on the 12th month of Thai lunar calendar, which usually falls in November in western calendar. People gather near the river, ponds, lakes, or simply where there is water to float their krathong.
"Loi" means "to float" and a "krathong" is traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk. Modern krathongs are more often made of bread or styrofoam. A bread krathong will disintegrate in a few a days and be eaten by fish and other animals. The traditional banana stalk krathongs are also biodegradable, but styrofoam krathongs are frowned on, since they are polluting and may take years to disappear. Regardless of the composition, a krathong will be decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense sticks. A low value coin is sometimes included as an offering to the river spirits.
During the night of the full moon, Thais will float their krathong on a river, canal or a pond lake. The festival is believed to originate in an ancient practice of paying respect to the spirit of the waters. Today it is simply a time to have fun.
Interesting, isn't? I went to Nan River here in Phitsanulok and saw thousands of people having fun floating their krathong. Others were partying on the street while eating, drinking, and taking pictures here and there. Some where just contented watching other peoples' activities. It was fun. Really fun. I look forward for another Loi Krathong Festival.
See you next year!