Loy Krathong – What You Need to Know to Celebrate the Ritual in Phuket
Loy Krathong is held annually on the evening of the 12th lunar month which falls in November. It is not a national holiday, but rather a time-honoured traditional ritual that every Thai loves to takes part in.
The Krathong is a small floating lantern carrying joss sticks, flowers, offerings and a candle. The lantern is cast off upon a body of water by each celebrant. The idea is that the Krathong symbolizes all the misfortunes that have beset each person throughout the year.
By casting these misfortunes off to be carried away by the flowing water, the person is ridding themselves of the misfortunes and can hope for better fortune in the coming year. If your Krathong is carried off by the currents, your fortunes will be better in the coming year. But if your Krathong floats back to you, you can expect the same amount of bad luck to follow you.
The Storied History of Loy Krathong
The Loy Krathong is often said to have originated in the ancient city of Sukhothai about 800 years ago by a lady of the court named Nopphamat. She adapted what was originally a Brahmin ritual to honour the Buddha. Over the years, the festival has spread to neighbouring countries, including Malaysia and Myanmar.
But many Thais use this festival as well to thank the Water Goddess, Phra Mae Khongkha. But Thais of many religions celebrate Loy Krathong and foreigners are invited to join in the ritual as well.
How to Celebrate Loy Krathong in Phuket
For those staying in a Phuket family resort, celebrating the ritual makes for a fun and exciting evening in which the whole family can take part. Patong Beach is one of the main sites in Phuket for all the spectacles and activities.
On the afternoon of Loy Krathong, you’ll notice small stands popping up by the roadsides all over the island. These stands are manned by local vendors who are selling their hand-made Krathongs.
Although it’s perfectly acceptable to make your own, most people buy a ready-made Krathong from these vendors. You should ensure that the base of the Krathong you choose is made from a bio-degradable material, such as the stalk of a banana tree and not from Styrofoam, which is a pollutant.
Once you have chosen your Krathong, you should add something personal to it, like fingernail clippings or a lock of your hair.
As the sun goes down, proceed to Patong Beach where the beautiful spectacle of Loy Krathong can be enjoyed as thousands of floating candles are cast out on Patong Bay.
You’ll find local kids who are busy earning pocket money. They offer to carry your Krathong out beyond the waves to ensure it doesn’t come back to you and spoil your dreams of prosperity in the coming year.
Be sure to bring your cameras, as the sight will provide you with once in a lifetime pictures you can share with your friends back home of the lovely magic of Loy Krathong.