All parts of Thailand are preparing to organize various cultural activities to celebrate Loy Krathong Festival, one of the most fascinating water-based cultural events in the country.
The festival takes place all over Thailand on the full-moon night of the twelfth lunar month, which in 2012 falls on Wednesday, 28 November.
In many places, the festival lasts a few days, but the highlight is on the full moon night, when people gather on the banks of rivers and canals to float their krathong, a small vessel traditionally made of banana leaves or the main stalk of a banana plant.
It is a form of thanksgiving by the people to the waterways on which they depend. The festival is also meant to seek pardon from the Goddess of Water for their sins in polluting the water. For the rural folk, this festival is believed to carry away the sins and misfortunes of the past year.
People celebrate this festival by lighting candles and incense sticks, making a wish, and carefully placing the krathong in a river, canal, stream, or pond. The krathong usually contains some candles, incense sticks, flowers, and coins.
There is evidence that in the days when Sukhothai was the capital of the Thai Kingdom, Loy Krathong was a state ceremony, a way of paying homage to sacred beings. Then, the tradition was modified when Nang Nopphamat, a favorite consort of King Phra Rueang, thought up the idea of making the krathong into the shape of a lotus flower, as well as other shapes, and floating it downstream. The King was attracted by the idea and decreed it an annual event.
The Loy Krathong Festival reflects the intimate relations between Thai people and waterways on which they depend for their livelihood. The Loy Krathong song, which is perhaps the best-known Thai song among foreigners, will be sung and heard during the festival everywhere.
The Director-General of the Government Public Relations Department (PRD), Mr. Teerapong Sodasri, said that PRD would organize a fair to celebrate the Loy Krathong Festival 2012. The three-day fair, ‘Joining Hands in Preserving Thai Culture,’ will take place at the PRD Headquarters, Soi Areesamphan, Phahonyothin Road, in Bangkok, from 26 to 28 November.
It features concerts, a bazaar of local products from various parts of the country, with 150 booths, a film show, and a demonstration of making the krathong from natural materials, as well as a food fair.
Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Sansanee Nakpong will preside over the opening ceremony at 04:00 p.m. on 26 November. One of the highlights during the three-day fair is a Nang Nopphmat beauty contest.
Everyone is invited to join this cultural event to celebrate the Loy Krathong Festival at the PRD Headquarters in Bangkok from 26 to 28 November 2012.