Lao Tradition, Memory Lane, Thai Tradition

Loy Krathong Festival

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Every time when I see a full moon, especially on the 12th month of the year (12th Luna month, sometimes fall on November), I can’t help but to think of Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand. I was only a kid then, but some of my childhood memories were so vivid that always bring a smile to my face. I used to live in Khampang Phet, Northern part of Thailand and Loy Krathong Festival was a big deal for our family.

Loy Krathong is a traditional Thai way of life, it is widely believed that these are offerings made to Mae Khongkha (mother of waters) either to please her in an expression of gratitude for providing life-sustaining water throughout the year, and to ask her for forgiveness for man’s carelessness in polluting the water that nourishes all life. Many also believe that by setting adrift the krathong, one symbolically casts away one’s grief, misery, and ill fortunes. Coins are also placed in the krathong as offerings. For the romantic at heart and young couples, Loy Krathong is the time to make wishes for happiness together and success in love.

On the day of Loy Krathong, my sisters and I would go out to look for materials to make our krathong. Most of the time we ended up using banana tree, banana leaves, lotus flowers, or any other types of flower that we can find that day. After gathering all the materials that were needed, we would be busy all day trying to make the krathong for the evening event. My older sisters would help us to make sure that we don’t put too much flowers because if it’s too heavy then it wouldn’t float. We always put at least one candle in the center of our krathong. Anyone can make krathong but the truly talented one would make the most beautiful, my dad can make beautiful krathong and so are my sisters.

In the evening, we all would gather at the temple for a religious ceremony such as ‘soud moun’ (prayer). After that we would walk to a near by krong (river) and put our krathongs lit with candles in the water. Everyone had their own wishes as they let the krathongs go and of course, I had mine as well. Our krathongs looked like little round boats floating, drifting away from us, carrying our prayer to Mae Khongka (mother of waters) for her to grant us our wishes. It was one of the most beautiful things to witness and to be a part of. It has been ages since I Loi Krathong; I don’t know if I still remember how to make the krathong.

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