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Pattaya City Thailand, Loy Krathong Festival

 Loy Krathong Festival

For those of you with a romantic interest in someone from Thailand. the chances are that, whether you know it or not. there are few more important dates in the year for von to remember than the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, because that is the date on which the festival of Loy Krathong falls. If von, like me, are more at home with the Gregorian calendar, the actual date changes from year to year, although it generally falls sometime in November. To further complicate the issue, the celebrations lend to take place on slightly different dates throughout different parts of 'Thailand, often to best accommodate a local carnival held to celebrate the festival. However, I am reliably informed that this year the vast majority of the country, including Pattaya, is due to celebrate on the 8lh of November. So make sure to mark it down in your diary.

The importance to those of you with a Thai girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife is that it is widely believed that those couples who celebrate the festival and make a wish together will continue to have a strong relationship during the course of the following year. And this is a country where you ignore such beliefs at your peril because a lot of Thais are, to say the absolute least, highly superstitious. Therefore, to take the time to do the necessary will probably mean an awful lot to your other half, while a failure to do so will almost certainly hurt them more than they will let on. If you are overseas or otherwise unavoidably separated on the all important day, at the very least make sure that you call and say that you wish that you could be there with him or her.

You may well be asking what it is that you actually have to do. And the answer is, not a great deal and certainly nothing that costs much in terms of either time or money. In fact, it is widely considered to be one of Thailand's most charming and beautiful festivals and one that tends to be extremely popular amongst those people who have had the chance to experience it. So no down side, so don't worry.

Loy Krathong festival in ThailandLoy Krathong literally translates to "to float a Krathong", a Krathong being a lotus shaped vessel that can float on water and into which is typically placed food, betel nuts, flowers, joss sticks, candles and coins. On the night in question, the celebration involves a very simple ritual whereby one lights the candles and the joss sticks before making a wish or two and placing the Krathong on a river, canal or other body of water with a current so that it can then float off into the distance. Thais believe that the longer a Krathong floats and
the candle sitting inside it burns, the better the chance of the individual's wishes coming true.

The festival is said to date back to the 13th century and to the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai, originating when a young lady named Nang Noppamas. who. dependent upon which version of the legend you believe, was possibly a Queen, wished to make an offering to the water spirits as pan of the celebrations to mark the end of the rainy season. So the story goes, she made a beautiful small float in the shape of a lotus flower and. having filled it with candles and incense, offered it to King Ramkhamhaeng. The King happily accepted the delicate gift and. having lit the candles, set it afloat down the river on the night of the full moon.

Even with the passing of hundreds of years, water remains the life-blood of a high proportion of the Thai population, who make their livings from growing rice and other crops for which the water that flows through the rivers and klongs that criss-cross the countryside is essential. So there is just as much reason as there ever was to give thanks for the water that nature provides.

Although the floating of Kratongs is therefore still intended to honour the water spirits, and in particular Mae Khong. Kha. the goddess of the waters, over the years Thais have apportioned a variety of other meanings to the ritual. As already mentioned one very important

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Pattaya City Thailand, Loy Krathong Festival


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