There might be Thai festivals with a greater religious or spiritual significance, other might be more official and granted a day off work by the authorities, but few are as romantic and beautiful as the festival we celebrate in Thailand today – Loy Krathong.
Taking place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the Thai lunar calendar, Loy Krathong takes its name from an activity widely performed during the festival – floating of Krathongs, small rafts made of banana stalk and leaves, decorated with flowers and holding a candle and an incense stick. Tens of thousands of those are floated on the evening of Loy Krathong on Thailand’s rivers, lakes and canals as a way of giving thanks to water deities and parting with past misfortunes and sorrows.
Another way to celebrate the festival is by floating flying lanterns into the air. But while this results in some spectacular photographs and mesmerizing atmosphere, it also poses hazard to air traffic (this year 158 flights have been cancelled or rescheduled for Loy Krathong) and is damaging to the environment, hence discouraged or outright banned by the authorities (to see how strict this ban is, look up towards the sky tonight).
In Phuket, fireworks and firecrackers have been banned alongside flying lanterns, but even without those, the atmosphere on the island will be positively festive tonight. As with many Thai celebrations, Loy Krathong provides a great excuse to gather round, eat and party. Many popular Krathong floating spots turn into full-swing night markets with stage performances, an abundance of street food and crowds of people.
Some of the popular locations to celebrate Thailand’s most picturesque festival in Phuket include the shores of the Saphan Hin Park lake in Phuket Town, the lake next to Phuket Mining Museum, Laguna Phuket lake by the turnoff to the Outrigger Resort and a lake park nearby Alan Cooke Cricket Ground in Thalang.