On the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, the tide in the rivers is highest and the moon at its brightest, creating a romantic setting ideal for lovers. The Thai people choose this day to hold the ‘Loy Kratong’ festival aka ‘The Festival of Light’. Loy Kratong is one of the two most recognized festivals in the country.
Loy Kratong is probably the most picturesque and beautiful of all Thai celebrations. ‘Loy’ literally means ‘to float,’ while ‘kratong’ refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle which can float on the water. Originally, the kratong was made of banana leaves or the layers of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant. A kratong contains food, betel nuts, flowers, joss sticks, candle and coins. The making of a kratong is much more creative these days as many more materials are available.
They watch intently as the float drifts silently away, hoping that the candle will not go out. Its flame is said to signify longevity, fulfilment of wishes and release from sins. Altogether it is considered a romantic night for couples or lovers. Couples who make a wish together on Loy Kratong are thought to stay together in the future.
Meanwhile, up above, thousands of ‘khom loy’ (floating lanterns) drift into the night sky. These large balloon-like lanterns are launched into the air where they resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating by through the sky in the hope that misfortune flies away with them.