Romance fills the air during Loy Krathong 2010

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The air in Pattaya was filled with romance on Sunday night, November 21, as couples from throughout the world floated their krathongs to celebrate the age old tradition of Loy Krathong, one of the most colorful and romantic celebrations in Thailand.

Local beaches were packed with residents, guests and tourists who collectively painted the seas with their flowers, candles and incense.  It was truly one of the busiest and most enjoyable events that Pattaya has seen in quite some time.

Waterways in Sattahip are filled with people celebrating Loy Krathong.Waterways in Sattahip are filled with people celebrating Loy Krathong.

But the fun wasn’t just limited to the beaches, as hotels, entertainment venues, tourist attractions, schools and just about anywhere that people tend to gather held special Loy Krathong events.

One popular venue for the celebrations was the Redemptorist Center where stalls were set up by the students and teachers selling krathongs made of biodegradable natural substances.

The theme of the celebrations at the center was, “Little krathongs uniting relationships and dreams as one.” The children who are under the care of the Father Ray Foundation performed a myriad of cultural activities including beautiful Thai dances and singing folk songs.

Contests were held to choose the most beautiful krathong and prizes were also given for the best dressed children.

Hotels around town also organized fun filled Loy Krathong festivities. Guests joined in to release hundreds of ‘khomloy’ hot air balloons into the sky. This ceremony originated in the north of Thailand and the belief is that by performing this act, one lets go of all the back luck from oneself.

Major hotels in Pattaya had their teams of international and Thai chefs prepare the finest of cuisine and guests were thrilled by the world class entertainment that visitors from around the world have become accustomed to. The packed venues were a welcome indication that the coming high tourist season will be one of the best and busiest ever.

Meanwhile, more than a thousand Russian tourists thronged the Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens where under the light of the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai calendar, they floated their krathongs in the vast clear ponds in the grounds of the popular tourist destination and enjoyed cultural shows performed by world renowned Thai cultural performers.

It was not only fun and games during Loy Krathong as revered Buddhist monk Phra Acharn Boonsong Upasamo from Wat Songmettawanaram temple in Bang Saray led his devoted disciples to the Nong Nooch Gardens where staff and visitors sat together under the bright moonlit night and listened to the preaching of the Buddhist priest who spoke of mercy and love.

Later everyone joined in merit making by releasing animals and fish back into their natural habitat as a sign of repentance and praying for forgiveness from Mother Ganges.

Nang Noppamas dancers perform beautifully at the Amari Orchid Resort.Nang Noppamas dancers perform beautifully at the Amari Orchid Resort.

Hundreds of tourists choose Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens to enjoy Loy Krathong.Hundreds of tourists choose Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens to enjoy Loy Krathong.

Guests at the Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort light their khomloys and prepare to send them skyward, taking away bad luck for the coming year.Guests at the Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort light their khomloys and prepare to send them skyward, taking away bad luck for the coming year.

Celebrating traditional Loy Krathong at the Redemptorist Center.Celebrating traditional Loy Krathong at the Redemptorist Center.

Children float their ‘bread’ krathongs.Children float their ‘bread’ krathongs.

Tanaree (Nong Nui) Fungpinyopab prepares to float her krathong at the Redemptorist Center.Tanaree (Nong Nui) Fungpinyopab prepares to float her krathong at the Redemptorist Center.

The art of traditional krathong making on display at the Sheraton Pattaya Resort.The art of traditional krathong making on display at the Sheraton Pattaya Resort.

Beautiful Noppamas contestants display their krathong at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort.Beautiful Noppamas contestants display their krathong at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort.

International School of Chonburi students release their krathongs in the school’s play pool.International School of Chonburi students release their krathongs in the school’s play pool.

Guests gather to float their krathongs at the Dusit Thani Pattaya Hotel.Guests gather to float their krathongs at the Dusit Thani Pattaya Hotel.

A loving couple prepares to loy their krathong at the Montien Hotel.A loving couple prepares to loy their krathong at the Montien Hotel.

Releasing khomloys at the Diana Garden Resort.Releasing khomloys at the Diana Garden Resort.

Staff and guests gather by the pool to loy their krathongs at the Hard Rock Hotel.Staff and guests gather by the pool to loy their krathongs at the Hard Rock Hotel.