And fire in the sky as Loy Krathong is celebrated country-wide this Friday
AFTER A full year in mourning at the loss of their beloved Monarch, Thais are back to their fun-loving selves and all over the country they are gearing up to celebrate the much-loved Loy Krathong Festival – the ancient Thai ritual of honouring the Water Goddess.
Bangkokians will be gathering along waterways all around the city to participate in the festival.
As the full moon casts its light over the land, the rivers, lakes and canals will burst into pops of light as lotus-inspired floats, known as krathong, fashioned from banana leaves and adorned with colourful blossoms and candles are sent out to apologise the Water Goddess for our misdeeds and ask for good luck in the forthcoming year.
Those seeking a place to join the celebration have a wide choice of interesting venues boasting unique cultural performances, fireworks and fun workshops.
Bangkokians can take advantage of the seamless festive route at the event called the River Festival that is being organised from Friday to Sunday.
This year, the event is broadening its territory to the Chao Phraya River’s eight major piers ranging from Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wat Kalayanamitra Waramahaviharn, Wat Prayurawongsawas Waraviharn, Tha Maharaj, Yodpiman River Walk, Lhong 1919 to Asiatique the Riverfront. Free shuttle boat services will be on hand from 4 to 11pm making it easy to get around.
People loose bananaleaf vessels to carry away past sins and seek good fortune for the coming year.
It’s a pleasant time to admire the spectacular streams of illuminated krathong flowing against an idyllic backdrop of Bangkok’s landmarks while the traditional religious ceremonies, music performances and lantern festival add colour to the banks.
Asiatique the Riverfront also offers visitors extra fun with an exhibition of Thai people and Their River, a showcase of innovative installation arts, a do-it-yourself krathong workshop and a street market offering handmade goods and local delicacies.
Further up the Chao Phraya on Rattanakosin Island, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is transforming Suan Santichaiprakarn into a classic Thai village from today until Friday.
The fair features several demonstrations of Royal Thai cuisine and garland making as well as an exhibition related to the celebrations of Loy Krathong in four cities. Visitors are invited to dress in traditional Thai costume and take part in a charming krathong procession.
The Retro Nostalgic zone showcases unique Thai cuisine and the lifestyles of Thais in bygone days and also has a corner for families to show off their creativity in crafting biodegradable krathong. Entertainment comes in the form of a khon performance from the Ramayana and a concert featuring Thai instruments.
The Sukhothai Historical Park hosts the “Glorious Sukhothai Kingdom” lightandsound show, reaching back to the festival’s advent in 1238, when King Ramkhamhaeng’s consort Tao Sri Chulalak (Noppamas) launched the original lotusshaped miniature barge.
The first capital of Siam, Sukhothai is where the Loy Krathong Festival began hundreds of years ago. Revellers can relive those times by heading to the Sukhothai Historical Park for the annual Sukhothai Loy Krathong and Candle Festival from today to Sunday.
This year, the festival will include a special exhibition paying tribute to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and to honour His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn. A “Greeting of the Dawn of Happiness” ceremony and “Khao Kwan Wan Len Fire”, the traditional Sukhothai gala dinner, kick off proceedings.
Thai culture is on display throughout the World Heritage Site, with a krathong-making contest, Noppamas processions from nine districts, khon and Thai classical music performances by local students, fireworks, a Thai folk singing competition and a Miss Noppamas’ beauty pageant.
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the ruins, the “Glorious Sukhothai Kingdom” light-and-sound performance will take visitors back to the birth of the festival in 1238 when the first small lotus-shaped small barge was crafted by King Ramkhamhaeng’s consort Tao Sri Chulalak, known as Noppamas.
Other attractions include an ancient Sukhothai-style market, where Siamese people bought and sold products with cowrie shells. This year, it will be home to more than 50 vendors offering local food and quality handcrafts. Visitors can also join a Thai folk dance performance and a ceremony of lighting up candles to pay respect to the Buddha.
Travellers to Chiang Mai can admire a spectacular parade of Nang Noppamas.
In the country’s northern region, the old Lanna capital Chiang Mai has maintained its charming culture by hosting the renowned Yi Peng Festival from tonight until Sunday.
Spread around the town from Three Kings Monument and Ping River to Tha Phae Gate and Nawarat Bridge, Chiang Mai’s festive version brightens up the sky with thousands of illuminated paper lanterns to pay respect to the Buddha rather than floating krathong down the river.
Local residents furnish their houses with handcrafted hanging lanterns and sacred Lanna-style religious ceremonies are held at the temples. Cultural entertainment includes crafting krathong from banana leaves and making sampao (mini boats), fireworks, krathong processions contest and releasing the fire lanterns.
Tak residents will float 1,000 illuminated bananaleaf boats, known as krathong sai.
Tak on Thailand’s western border with Myanmar is famous for floating 1,000 illuminated banana-leaf barges or krathong sai.
The festival takes place from Friday to Tuesday at Rattanakosin Song Roi Pi Bridge and will include ceremonies honouring the late King, processions of krathong made from coconut shells, Thai cultural performances, a walking street and a One Product, One Tambon (Otop) exhibition. Visitors can take part in a competition to float 1,000 glittering lanterns or coconut-shell krathong to win a royal trophy.
The old town of Ayutthaya also joins the celebration on Friday night with festivities taking place from the Pridi Bridge and Sri Suriyothai Pagoda to Chankasem Palace and Petch Fortress.
The event includes a Miss Noppamas Beauty Contest, krathong floating and fire lantern contests, Thai music performances and a street market selling local handicrafts, cotton and silk garments, pottery, household items and favourite Thai delicacies.
In the town of Amphawa in Samut Songkham, the Mae Klong River will be illuminated with thousands of krathong crafted from the bark of banana trees.
Known for its floating market, Samut Songkhram is holding the Loy Krathong Festival at Wat Pummarin Kudeethong on Friday.
It’s a great place to indulge in a slow life and watch krathong crafting from banana tree trunks, the floating of 200,000 of specially designed barges, Thai dance procession, retro Thai dancing and multiple contests of Mum and Daughter, krathong making and Thai dance.