The Loi (or Loy) Krathong festival is celebrated nationwide as the full moon of the 12th lunar month – usually in November – lights up the night sky.
The term krathong refers to a lotus-shaped receptacle that can float on the water and the ritual is very simple, in that you buy (or build) a krathong, make a wish, light the candle, and then let the whole thing be carried away down the river. The candle is the main component of this tiny vessel, and the flame signifies longevity, fulfillment of wishes and release from sins.
Millions of people follow this ritual, along Thailand’s numerous rivers and canals, thus transforming the kingdom’s waterways into an amazing network of tiny lights.
The Chao Phraya River in Bangkok is a favourite spot this time of year, but the province of Sukothai, where the ritual first began, is also famous for its Loi Krathong Festival and in Chiang Mai the festival coincides with Yi Peng, a beautiful lantern festival.