Today is Loy Krathong and it’s one of Thailand’s most important holidays. It takes place at the end of the rainy season during the full moon in November. Loy in Thai means ‘float’ and Krathong means ‘a floating sculpture’. A traditional Krathong in Thailand is made with a piece of banana tree trunk that is decorated with folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, and incense sticks. During the evening of Loy Krathong, people will gather near a river, lake, or ocean to float their Krathongs and pay their respects to the goddess of water.
Jiraprapa, our dear friend in Thailand, taught us how to make a traditional krathong when we first came to Hua Hin in 2013. She picked up all the supplies and we went to her restaurant for our krathong making lesson. It was great fun and we spent a few hours crafting our krathongs (under her expert guidance) so that we could participate in this important festival.
Early evening we watched the parade and admired the beautiful and elaborate krathongs on display.
Later on in the evening we went to Kao Tao reservoir where the main Loy Krathong event was being held in Hua Hin. Together and along with many others, we released our Krathongs and made our special wishes. Our Krathongs stayed together and we were told that means we are a real couple. It was very moving and special for us to be able to participate in the festival and to float krathongs that we had made ourselves.
Tonight we had a different experience of Loy Krathong, we ventured out to see what was going on for the festival. We picked up a krathong from our neighbours, the young girls made some nice ones and they were selling them – unfortunately we didn’t have our friend Jiraprapa here to craft krathongs with us. We strolled to the center of Hua Hin thinking we would catch the parade but much to our surprise there was no parade. With no parade to watch we took in a little celebratory happy hour and enjoyed a pizza for supper.
At around 8pm we thought it’s time to float our Krathong from the beach and then enjoy a nice moonlit beach walk home. The moonlit beach walk home was lovely but let’s just say that floating Krathongs from the beach is not very good.
First of all the tide was out which is really not helpful, secondly our candle wouldn’t stay lit, and thirdly most Krathongs had washed back up on the beach leaving a pretty big mess.
We walked a ways and then felt extremely guilty about our Krathong in the ocean, even though it was made with everything natural, banana leaves and flowers, the only possible bad thing would be the candle. Anyways we turned around, went back to where our Krathong was floating, fished it out of the ocean and carried it home to dispose of.
Same festival with two completely different experiences!
We heard this song playing everywhere on Loy Krathong day, in Thai of course, but this is the English translation.