Loi Krathong Festival
I am sure the name- ‘Loi Krathong’ has got your eye and you are curious to know about it. Two weeks ago, even I didn’t know much about it and was as clueless as you. But then I got a mail in my inbox which talked about ‘festival of lights’ in Thailand. It pushed me to read more about it right there. And in sometime, the most concrete thought that crossed my mind was, ‘Is this like Diwali?’ The idea of it being close to Diwali came to me because in April I had got a chance to visit Chiang Mai and Bangkok to celebrate Songkran, a festival very close in feel and appeal to our ‘Holi’ in India. So ‘Loi Krathong’ read ‘Diwali’ to me in many ways.
Festival of Lights- Loi Krathong
The festival of Loy Krathong has always been held on the full moon day of the 12th lunar month. The date changes every year. This year it will be celebrated in Thailand on 25th November, the full moon of the month. The festive mood goes on over a few days.
Float the Krathong and say your prayers. This is a festival of lights and water. Karthongs are floated everywhere where ever there is water. Candles, flowers, incense , joss sticks are placed on the beautiful krathongs.
A small coin is placed on the krathong before floating it. One prays to the river and wishes for keeping away the negative things of life. It is also a way of thanking the river for supporting life. Lord Buddha’s path enlightenment is also connected to this day’s celebrations.
I would lovingly call it a romantic festival. Young men and women say their prayers, float their krathongs and celebrate this festival together in the atmosphere of full moon and candle lights. They stay out late at night and also light up the sky by launching crackers and lamps/balloons in the air.
Traditionally, the krathongs are made from a slice of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant.
Loi Krathong festival celebrations at Radisson Blu
This year, I got a wonderful opportunity to celebrate it in ‘New Delhi’ with Tourism Authority of Thailand.’ The celebrations happened at Radisson Blu, Mahipalpur. The pool side and the lawn were beautifully decorated. There were lights and krathongs around. No less, a team of dancers and musicians flown had been flown from Chiang Mai. The event kick started with dignitaries from Thail airways and TAT, New Delhi thanking the guests for their presence. They were followed by the lovely dance performances. After the dances, there was a special Muay Thai performance. Together it all gave us a peek into the Thai art and culture.
As the story goes…
It started first when the daughter of a Brahmin priest in the time of King of Sukothai (fourteenth century) had made a Krathong from the banana leaves in the form of a lotus flower. Thus, as per the traditions, Krathong is made of the leaves and wood of the banana tree. Also from breads these days so that they can be eaten away by fishes. The container is beautifully decorated with flowers, joss sticks, incense sticks and candles.
A full moon in the twelfth month is the day for the festival. Krathongs are floated on the water. They help to carry happiness and prosperity as well as take away misery. In northern Thailand, the festival coincides with the Lanna festival of Yi Peng or Yee Peng (local name).
I also learnt that in Thailand, this festival is highlighted with parades, fireworks, displays of colorful lanterns, lights, colours, traditional Thai demonstrations, exhibitions of delicate crafts, photo booths, etc.
Once the performances got over, Miss Loi Krathong was carried on palanquin to the other end of the pool site. And after that the guests released the candle-lit krathongs. The team from TAT, New Delhi helped us light the candles. We were very excited as a bunch we travel bloggers together released our krathongs together.
With all the krathongs floating on the water, the pool view was gorgeous. The colors and light shone on the water under the sky and the reflections looked amazing.
And then we ate some of the specialties at Neung Roi – Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Mahipalpur. The menu was lavish. I loved the egg flat noodles and the fish. Here are some of the clicks of the dishes that I tasted for the first time that night. When I was in Thailand, I had loved eating sticky Rice with mango.