Loy Krathong - Festival of Lights
One of the most picturesque festivals in Thailand is the evening of Loy Krathong, when people gather around lakes, rivers, canals and at sea shore to pay respects to the goddess of water by releasing beautiful lotus shaped small rafts, decorated with candles, incense and flowers onto the water.
Every year, Loy Krathong falls on the full-moon night of the twelfth lunar month (usually in November), at the end of the rainy season and this year it will be celebrated on the 6th of November. The thousands of Krathongs, their flickering candles that seems like a thousand pinpoints of light far into the horizon, is a truly magical view, and there are a lot of places in Pattaya where you can get involved with the festivities.
The history behind the festival is complex, and Thais celebrate for many reasons. The main - rice harvest season has ended and it’s time to thank the Water Goddess for a year’s worth of her abundant supply, as well as an apology for polluting the waters. Some believe that this is the time to symbolically ‘float away’ all the anger and grudges you have been holding onto, and including a fingernail or a lock of hair is seen as a way of letting go of the dark side of yourself, to start anew free of negative feelings. If your candle stays alight until your Krathong disappears out of sight, it means a year of good luck.
It's believed that the "boat" will carry away your bad luck, and enable a better start to the following year. Loy Kratong is a big night for lovers. Couples who make a wish together on this day will enjoy long-lasting love, especially if their kratongs remain together on the water.
Loi Krathong coincides with the Lanna festival known as Yi Peng. Yi means "two" and peng means a "full moon day". Yi Peng refers to the full moon day of the second month
according to the Lanna lunar calendar (the twelfth month according to the Thai lunar calendar).
Swarms of Lanna-style sky lanterns (khom loi), literally: "floating lanterns") are launched into the air where they resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating through the sky. Khom loi are made from a thin material, such as rice paper, stretched over a bamboo or wire frame, to which a candle or fuel cell is attached. When the fuel cell is lit, the resulting hot air is trapped inside the lantern and creates enough lift power for the khom loi to float up into the sky. As with ktathongs, deemed that all bad luck will fly away with the khom loy.
As the sun dips below the horizon and the full moon begins to hover in the night sky, take your krathong and khom loi to the nearest beach, lake or sea shore and launch it. It's believed, that if the krathong floats away from you, the coming year will bring good fortune, if it floats back towards the shore, then perhaps your luck may turn not so good as you had wished.