Festival of Water and Light (Loi Krathong)
The Festival of Water and Light is one of the most beautiful, spectacular and touching holidays in Thailand. It is annually held on the first full moon day in November.
Bangkok’s locals spend the whole day making Krathongs, that is, small boats made of banana leaves and decorated with flowers, burning candles and perfumed sticks. In the evening, when the city plunges into dusk, the locals go to the river (or any other water body) and set their Krathongs afloat, making a wish as they do so. Earlier this ritual used to symbolize tribute of respect to the Goddess of Water who gives fish and feeds the fields, where rice grows. Today festival’s meaning is reinterpreted in Buddhist way: it represents forgiveness of sins, cleansing of resentment and bad thoughts, opportunity to start a new life. In addition to Krathongs, Thais launch burning lamps, which are believed to help to get rid of misfortunes and troubles, this night.
It is common to launch air lanterns from the finest cigarette paper into the sky during the Festival of Water and Light. They are filled with hot air. Locals usually put a note with their cherished desires in the lanterns and, releasing them into the sky, believe that their wishes will come true without fail.
Folk festivals take place, a variety of holiday activities are organized, and small stages, on which theatrical performances are held, are erected in the city on this day.