AS the mourning period following the passing of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej ended last night (Sunday), the traditional Loy Krathong, set for November 3, will be back to normal this year.
According to the Public Relations Department, the general public were urged to wear black clothes or appropriate clothing with a black bow pin for a year until the night of October 29. They were also told to end the mourning from today (Monday) morning.
Loy Krathong is one of Thailand most important holidays. What is the meaning of Loy Krathong? Loy means float and Krathong is a special Thai floating sculpture particular to the holiday. It is made from a cross section of a banana tree trunk (sometimes replaced nowadays by styrofoam or bread baked into the form of a traditional Krathong), which is decorated with folded banana leaves and flowers in intricate towering designs. The banana trunk and bread Krathong are promoted as they are eco-friendly.
They are hand made by the people for their own use and also for sale around the main Loy Krathong festival areas.
Before floating your Krathong with your friends, loved ones or family members, light the incenses sticks and candles in your Krathong and hold it together after it is lit then make a wish before sending the Krathong into the water with little push.
The Krathong will carry your wishes downstream, meaning carrying away bad luck or troubles and offering up your wish. Then follow the candle light on your Krathong with your eyes until it fades away.
With hundreds of Krathong floating in the river or lake, that would be one of the most picturesque festivals throughout the country especially in Bangkok.
Every year the festival falls on the night of the 12th lunar month (usually in November and this year on November 3) at the end of the rainy season when the full moon lights up the sky.
Also, in many places, people also host various cultural activities such as dance performances, beauty contests, Krathong making contests and lantern releasing (prohibited in Bangkok).
The festival is normally held everywhere throughout the country but this year with flooding in many, many provinces there might be some inconveniences in those areas.
In the latest announcement, the Nonthaburi Municipal has broadcast its decision not to organize the Loy Krathong festival for fear that the event which would be attended by a huge number of people might damage the sand bag wall barrier but people can still float their Krathong on their own.
Another website had reported that Ministry of Health announced on October 28 that Loy Krathong festivals are not allowed in five provinces, namely, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakarn and Pathum Thani due to high risks but it is likely to be fake news as the ministry has nothing to do with the festival.
In Bangkok, there are many places where you can join the festival. Among the popular destinations are Asiatique, Wat Saket, Phra Athit Pier (for anyone around Khao San Road), riverside hotels along the Chao Phraya River (Anantara, Mandarin Oriental, Royal Orchid Sheraton and Shangri La), Maharaj Lifestyle Mall, Lumpini Park in Silom area, Benjasiri and Benjakiti Park in Sukhumvit area.
Top: A happy family floating their Krathong which carry their wishes. Photo: John Shedrick (CC-BY-2.0)
Inset: Some beautiful and eco-friendly Krathong for sale. Photo: Neajjean (CC-BY-SA-2.0)
By Kowit Sanandang