Holidays in Thailand: Celebrating Loy Krathong with Lights and Blessings493
BY Holly Ryder (Holiday Bear)

Holidays in Thailand: Celebrating Loy Krathong with Lights and Blessings

Loy Krathong is a colorful event celebrated in Thailand every year. This festival is celebrated every twelfth lunar month. On this festival, the rivers gleam with tiny, ornamental floats. Thailand's towns and villages are bathed in a sea of lanterns drifting over the night sky. This fascinating presentation celebrates one of Thailand's most exquisite and well-known holidays, Loy Krathong.  

The excitement of Loy Krathong envelopes everyone as Thai people pay tribute to their water goddess. The water goddess is known as Phra Mae Khongkha. They express appreciation for her life-sustaining generosity and request forgiveness. Releasing a krathong into the water signifies letting go of misfortunes, negative thoughts, and personal grudges. Thai people welcome positivity, happiness, and good fortune. Krathongs are traditionally made from banana trunks and leaves and adorned with candles, flowers, and incense sticks.



Understanding Loy Krathong: Its History and Significance

Buddha Statue Wat Mahathat Temple Precinct Sukhothai Historical Park

Loy Krathong was first celebrated in the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom. It was celebrated as a ritual to honor the river goddess for giving lush land and rich harvests. King Rama IV brought the event back to life in the 19th century. It has since grown to become a national holiday.

In addition to its religious origins, Loy Krathong is said to have sprung from the “Annakot Brahmanic” celebration. Hindus give Lord Vishnu food and flowers on this holiday as a token of gratitude for keeping life on Earth.

The Symbolism of Loy Krathong

The Symbolism of Loy Krathong

For the people of Thailand, Loy Krathong signifies more than just religion and culture. The release of lanterns and krathongs symbolizes the significance of letting go and moving on. It prompts us to let go of unfavorable feelings, extend forgiveness for previous transgressions, and begin with optimism.

In addition, Loy Krathong is seen as a symbol of reverence and appreciation for the bountiful natural world. People are reminded of the value of protecting natural resources and leading eco-friendly lives by honoring the water goddess. Being a celebration of life, love, and fresh starts, it's a significant and enchanting festival.


The Candle and Incense: Illuminating the Darkness

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the candles and incense sticks adorn the krathongs have deeper symbolic meaning. The incense is thought to bring good energy and ward off bad luck, while the candle symbolizes knowledge, wisdom, and enlightenment.

The Krathong, adorned with lit candles and incense, is believed to dispel darkness and infuse brightness into one's existence as it floats on the water. The flickering candles remind us to let go of our bad luck and welcome fresh starts. 


The Traditional Process of Celebrating Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong has evolved over the years; some traditional practices are still followed in its celebration. These include:

  • To create a Krathong, use organic materials like banana trunks, leaves, flowers, and candles.

  • Writing wishes or prayers on the Krathong before releasing it into the water.

  • Light incense sticks and place them on the Krathong.

  • Releasing lanterns with wishes written on them into the sky.

  • Dressing in traditional Thai clothing and participating in parades and beauty pageants.



Crafting the Krathong: A Family Affair

Loy Krathong Festival Decorated Buoyant Put White Wooden Background

Making the krathong is a family tradition in many homes. With the help of their parents or grandparents, kids frequently gather materials and decorate Krathongs. This promotes transferring this custom from one generation to the next.

Making the Krathong is considered a method to show appreciation for the love and support that a family unit offers. Children may also learn the value of nature and environmental preservation from it.

So, if you ever have the chance to make a Krathong with your family during Loy Krathong, take this opportunity to create lasting memories while honoring tradition.



The River Ceremony: Release of the Krathongs

Asia Woman Thai Dress Traditional Hold Kratong Loy Krathong

The main event of Loy Krathong is the release of the krathongs into the water, which is often preceded by a river ceremony. The ceremony involves lighting candles and incense sticks, saying prayers or making wishes, and gently placing the krathongs on the river.

As the krathongs float away with the water current, they are believed to carry away any negative energy and leave a sense of peace and renewal. This ceremony is often accompanied by traditional music, dance performances, and fireworks displays, making it a truly mesmerizing experience. If you can attend the river ceremony during Loy Krathong, participate in the rituals and immerse yourself in this beautiful celebration of life and nature.



The Beauty of Loy Krathong: A Sky and River Aflame

Chinise City

Loy Krathong becomes incredibly magnificent as the sun sets and millions of floating lanterns light the sky. Words cannot express the dreamy atmosphere created by the lanterns in the sky, the incense, and the flickering candles on the krathongs.

This beauty is not confined to the river ritual; during Loy Krathong, one may witness it all around Thailand. The entire nation is lit up during this event, from Chiang Mai's floating lanterns to Bangkok's candlelit temples.

Loy Krathong and Thai Society: A Reflection of Harmony

Celebrating Loy Krathong with Lights and Blessings

Loy Krathong is not just a festival but an integral part of Thai society and culture. It reflects the Thai people's deep connection with nature and their appreciation for the abundance of resources it provides.

In addition, the celebration promotes harmony and togetherness among the local community. People join together to rejoice and give thanks to one another. Because of this spirit of peace and unity, Loy Krathong is regarded as a significant cultural tradition in Thailand.

What is the Best Place to Celebrate The Loy Krathong Festival?

Beautiful Woman Thai Traditional Outfit Smiling Standing Temple

Loy Krathong is celebrated throughout Thailand. There are many places to experience this festival. However, some of the most popular and iconic locations include:

  • Chiang Mai
    • The ancient city walls in Chiang Mai provide the perfect background for floating krathongs and releasing lanterns.

  • Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok)
  • Sukhothai
    • It is thought that Sukhothai is the origin of Loy Krathong and provides a more genuine and traditional experience.

  • Ayutthaya
    • Ayutthaya, the ancient capital city, is known for its colorful krathongs.

Food Choices at Loy Krathong Festivals

Rice Noodles Bowl Curry Paste with Chili Cucumber Long Bean Lime Garlic Spring Onion

During the celebration of Loy Krathong, various delicious Thai foods are often enjoyed. Here are some of the popular food choices at the festival:

  • Pad Thai is a classic dish with stir-fried noodles with eggs, tofu, bean sprouts, peanuts, lime, and chilies. It is a staple at most Thai festivals and celebrations.

  • Green Curry is another traditional Thai dish. Green Curry is a spicy, aromatic blend of coconut milk, green chilies, and assorted vegetables served with rice.

  • Sticky Rice with Mango, a Thai dessert, is made from glutinous rice, fresh mango slices, and sweet coconut sauce.

  • Thai Spring Rolls are crispy rolls filled with vegetables and sometimes meat, served with a sweet and sour sauce. They make for an excellent snack during the festival.

  • Tom Yum Soup tastes excellent and refreshing. It is hot and sour. Usually, it also contains shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves.


Each food choice adds to the Loy Krathong festival's vibrant and flavorful experience.

Joining in on the Festivities: Tips for Travelers

Happy Retired Woman Traditional Thai Dress Travel Temple

If you happen to be in Thailand during Loy Krathong, here are a few tips to make the most out of this magical celebration:

  • Wear traditional Thai clothing, such as a "Pha Nung" or "Chut Thai," to fully immerse yourself in the cultural festivities.

  • Attend one of the many parades and beauty pageants nationwide to see beautifully decorated floats and traditional performances.

  • Release your Krathong or lantern, but be mindful of the environment by using biodegradable materials.

  • Try traditional Loy Krathong treats such as Kanom Krok (coconut rice pancakes) and Foy Thong (golden egg threads).

  • Follow local customs, such as bowing your head and wai-ing (placing your hands in prayer) when passing by shrines or temples.


Holidays in Thailand: Celebrating Loy Krathong with Lights and Blessings


Loy Krathong is not just a festival; it's a way for Thai people to connect with their culture, traditions, and spirituality. It is a time of reflection, forgiveness, gratitude, joy, and celebration. So, if you ever find yourself in Thailand during Loy Krathong, join the festivities and experience this magical tradition firsthand.  

Loy Krathong showcases Thailand's cultural diversity and delivers a unique food experience. From making and releasing krathongs to eating delicious food, the festival is an enriching experience that brings people together. So go ahead, release your worries into the water or sky, and let the beauty of Loy Krathong envelop you. 



Written by
Holly Ryder (Holiday Bear)

I'm Holly Ryder (Holiday Bear), your guide to joyous holiday adventures in breathtaking locations. Join me as I unveil vibrant portraits of spending holidays in the world's most attractive places, inspiring you to craft your own memorable holiday tales.


The Bear Travel | Experience like a Local

A fast-growing Thailand Travel Blog written by Expats and Thais since 2017. We will share our experiences and ideas from an insider point of view for you to create your own unique Thailand experience.

For the latest news and events about The Bear Travel, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube.

For any issues, concerns, or queries, don’t hesitate to CONTACT us.