The Loi Krathong Festival, by Amelia


Sukothai, Thailand

November 18-25, 2018

Sukothai was one of my favorite places on this WHOLE trip so far. That’s saying a lot, cause we’ve been to A LOT of different places! One of the reasons why it was my favorite, is because of the lantern festival. For the whole week while we were there there was a festival going on not far from our place.

The Loi Krathong Festival is the festival of floating lanterns. This festival celebrates the last full moon of the year (using the Thai lunar calander).This festival takes place all over Thailand, and each place has its own customs. You may have heard of the version where people release lanterns into the sky. In Sukothai, instead of releasing lanterns into the sky, we released little boats with incense and candles onto the water. Whatever version you are doing, it all symbolizes one thing: Releasing your worries, mistakes, stress, etc. Supposedly, when you release your lantern or boat, it leaves you with a clean start for the new year.

Anyway, we went to the festival almost every night we were there. It provided good food, (especially coconut ice cream👍) an amazing atmosphere, and really cool handmade crafts.

There were SOOO many stands selling the Krathongs, so we decided to look. We wanted to pick out the designs we liked so that on the real day we didn’t spend hours looking at all of them, trying to decide (believe me, it’s possible).

One night that we were there we went to the light show, which was in Thai, but we think it told the story of Sukothai. There were lots of lights, fireworks, and fake fighting involved. It was AWESOME!! (It was also CRAZY hot!!!!!!!!!!!😰😵) The only non-awesome thing, was that they used elephants for fake-fighting, and at the end, the elephants were taking pictures and begging for money.😑😖😫 Luckily, elephants are now being rescued from these situations! (Read Annabelle’s post about Chiang Mai!)

As the week progressed, the festival got busier and busier. On the main night (the full moon) you could barely walk without being pushed up against someone, or nearly getting run over by a trolly coming through. The crowds also didn’t help the hot/humid situation. I swear it was at least 10 degrees hotter when you were walking through all of the steaming food stalls with all of the body heat.😰😫

On the night of the boat launch, we reveiwed our choices of Krathongs, and picked our favorites.

In SE Asia it’s common to barter for craft items, but the Krathongs that we wanted were really cheap. All of the Krathongs at the festival were made by hand, so it felt wrong to pay about $1 (or 20-50 baht) for the Krathongs, and it felt even wronger (is that a word?) to barter, so that you only pay 50 cents. Especially considering that we had seen people making the Krathongs, and it seemed like they took a lot of time to make!!

So we decided to pay the full price for each of our floats. Then we walked to the lake to release them (not the small pond in the photo above). Before we released them, we saw someone’s float getting chomped on by the millions of fish in the lake. We realized later, that you could buy edible floats made of cheetos and ice cream cones and thought maybe it was comforting to see your worries and mistakes being viciously chomped??

Anyway, we lit our floats and released them. It was a cool experience, and it did make me feel like I had a clean slate.

We watched our floats for awhile, and we had to push them out again a couple times, because they got stuck.

It was so busy it took us awhile to get to the exit, but we didn’t mind because we loved the festival. We were sad to leave, but are so grateful that we got to experience this amazing festival.

Categories: AmeliaTags: , , , , , , , ,

3 comments

  1. HI Amelia, Mighty Mighty Traveler Of The Whole Wide World…!!! Pa here… it’s Christmas Eve Day today, so I’ll say Merry Christmas Eve Day now… and Merry Christmas too, ’cause when we get up tomorrow morning on Christmas Day, your Christmas Day will almost be over.

    Momma & Daddy (especially Momma) will tell you that I am the most Ginormous Self-Created-Stress-Sufferer of all time. So when I read your post about the Light Festival, I decided to take action. Knowing that I wouldn’t make it to Loi Krathong in time… (it’s already over), and knowing that my Ginormous Self-Created Stress Load would require something considerably more substantial than a teeny-weeny paper floaty boat, I went down to the boat rack and dragged off the biggest canoe I could find. Then, not having any incense, I half filled it with old, smelly wine bottle corks I had been saving up for some unknown reason… (probably connected in some way to stress). Then, realizing that a teeny weeny candle just wouldn’t cut it (my stress load needed BIG FIRE, man!), I filled the rest of the canoe with pine tree branches that the winter snow & ice had knocked off the trees. I got the whole sacrificial thing into the water, but only into the shallows (’cause the water’s pretty cold here in NH in December and there was ice forming too), and lit it up… needed a whole gallon of gas… the branches were all still wet.

    It didn’t work. I think I should’a picked an aluminum canoe instead of a plastic one. First, there was a rather large explosion (maybe a little too much gasoline). The wet pine branches and the old wine bottle corks really made a lot of very stinky smoke, the plastic canoe 1/2 melted, sank in the shallows, got stuck in the muddy bottom, and got frozen overnight in ice. Now there’s a big, ugly shipwreck at the lake that I’ll have to clean up, but won’t be able to until ice-out in the spring, and people are pretty angry with me. (I probably would be totally banned from partaking in the Sukothai Loi Krathong festival.)

    And I still have my stress.
    xoxoxoxo

    P.S. So, this festival is so people can RELEASE their stress. But, “…you could barely walk without being pushed up against someone, or nearly getting run over by a trolly coming through. The crowds also didn’t help the hot/humid situation… it was at least 10 degrees hotter when you were walking through all of the steaming food stalls with all of the body heat.😰😫”… AND, on top of all THAT stress INDUCING stuff… wild, deranged fish chomp your carefully and painstakingly crafted floaty boat all to pieces!! (and, obviously, these fish are even fire resistant, so you wouldn’t want to mess around with them!)

    I’m very confused… NO!NO!NO!… JUST KIDDING…!!!

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    • Hello!! Merry Christmas to you too!!! You can write your own blog post just about “releasing your bad stuff!!!” As for fish chomping, don’t even ask me, cause I don’t even know. Aaannd, I think the whole release your stress thing means for the past year, but when you release it, a whole new year of stress begins!!(including being excruciatingly hot, and almost getting run over)😂😂
      Xoxoxo
      Amelia😘

      Like

      • Hi again Amelia!!
        You know that Coconut Ice Cream you mentioned? If you could get a 5 Gallon tub of it, it’d probably go a long way toward keeping you guys cool.
        P.S. There seems to be a constant thread that’s been with you guys everywhere you’ve been… a single, life-sustaining element of purity & bliss highly contributory & influential to your Buddha-like state of mind… and it has to do with ice cream…
        xoxoxo

        Like

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