Loy your Krathong this Sunday

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Celebrants encouraged to use only natural materials for krathongs

This year’s Loy Krathong Festival in Pattaya, the most romantic night on the Thai calendar, falls on Sunday, November 21.

The entire Kingdom will be celebrating, and locally the city organized festivities will be centered at Naklua Public Park.  Scheduled events include a krathong making competition, which emphasizes that only krathongs using all natural material that will easily biodegrade, will be eligible to enter.

One proven method uses cassava, which can be molded using a technique from Belgium, which has been tested by Kasetsart University. A krathong made in this way will biodegrade within six hours, becoming food for marine life. Krathongs can also be made from bread and banana leaves.

Loy Krathong, the most romantic night on the Thai calendar, takes place this Sunday, Nov. 21.  The festivities will be held throughout the city at hotels and anywhere there is water, whilst the city organized fun will take place in Naklua.  So, take your significant other by the hand, buy or build a biodegradable krathong, head to a body of water and float your troubles away. (Photo courtesy Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens)Loy Krathong, the most romantic night on the Thai calendar, takes place this Sunday, Nov. 21.  The festivities will be held throughout the city at hotels and anywhere there is water, whilst the city organized fun will take place in Naklua.  So, take your significant other by the hand, buy or build a biodegradable krathong, head to a body of water and float your troubles away. (Photo courtesy Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens)

The contest will be divided into 2 categories, one for beauty and the second for creativity.  Winners could win as much as 20,000 baht and a certificate from Pattaya City.  The categories will be sub-divided into 3 other divisions, one each for primary and secondary students and one for the general public. The contest starts at 1 p.m., with judging and prize giving at 6:30 p.m.

The official opening ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. on the main stage in Naklua, followed by a country music concert by Cataliya Marasri and David Inthee.

Since it is such a revered holiday, expect a large influx of people into the resort.  This will most likely cause a certain amount of traffic, so please plan ahead should you choose to drive anywhere this weekend.

A bit of history

According to the history written by King Mongkut in 1863, the Loy Krathong festival has its roots in ancient Brahmin culture, going back some 700 years. The spirits of the river were given offerings which were sailed in the river in small boats (krathongs) and in this way the owner of the krathong would gain absolution. This was a Brahmin belief.

The small boats fashioned by the beautiful and talented Nang Noppamas, the daughter of a Brahmin priest and wife of King Phra Ruang, were notable for their construction and beauty. It was this king who then dedicated the krathong to the memory of the Buddha, and decreed that the event would be called Loy Krathong and that it should become an annual celebration to commemorate the skill and beauty of his consort. In this way he lifted it out of Brahmin culture and installed it into the accepted Buddhist way of life. This is the reason that the krathongs now carry three incense sticks representing the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

During the Loy Krathong Festival, people decorate their krathong with flowers, joss sticks and candles which will then sail away, taking with them bad health, bad luck and unhappiness.

Lanterns are well-known symbols in the Loy Krathong Festival, too, being used to decorate houses and temples in worship of the guardian spirits. There are four kinds of lantern used in the festival: the hand-held rabbit lantern, the hot air balloon lantern (kom loy), the hanging lantern for religious worship, and the spin lantern installed at the temples. The belief in lanterns is that the lights inside compare with the wisdom the people will gain in the next life.

Loy Krathong this year falls on Sunday, November 21. (Photo courtesy Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens) Loy Krathong this year falls on Sunday, November 21. (Photo courtesy Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens)