Lois Lights: Thailands Beautiful Loi Krathong Festival
November is a great month to visit Thailand. The rainy season has ended and the air is not as humid. I was lucky enough to arrive during the November full moon, the time of Loi Krathong, one of the country's most beautiful festivals.
According to legend, a Thai Princess wished to thank the water spirits for their bounty and so began the tradition of making krathongs or leaf cups decorated with flowers and holding a candle. Loi means "to float" and after making a wish, the krathongs are lowered into a river or canal to float away.
Some believe the custom of floating lanterns was started about 700 years ago by the Thai kings in the North when Sukhothai was the capitol. Others say the custom was not only a way to thank the Goddess Mae Khongkha, the Mother of Water, but of asking her pardon for having polluted the water a problem found almost everywhere in Thailand.
Still others claim the festival really has
It was a delightful evening on the Chao Phraya River (River of Kings) in Bangkok when I arrived. All the large hotels along the river prepare lavish feasts for the occasion and the people come dressed in their finest.
At the end of the evening, we join the crowds along the river. it is time to make a wish before launching our krathongs into the water to float away. As hundreds of thousands of krathongs fill the water, fireworks spray over the river into the wee hours. Dancing and music last all night.
And what happens to the krathongs after they have floated away? Small children sometimes swim out to catch them and retrieve the coins that are often left on the krathongs to placate the gods in reparation for our misdeeds.
Perhaps the lights of Thailands Loi Krathong Festival please more than the gods, after all.
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