The Thai Loi Krathong festival and river goddess worship

Besides Songkran on April 13, Wian Thian in February and the King’s birthday on December 5, Loi Krathong is the most important Buddhist event of the year. Its traditional purpose is to thank the river goddess Mae Kong Ka, for proper drainage of all fallen rainwater. To this end, a prayer is said and a flower arrangement is lowered into the water as a vessel to convey the message of thanks. It is used to honor yourself or a loved one or to deliver a special prayer at the gates of heaven. What gave rise to this celebration and why is it an important point in Thai culture?

Thai Loi Krathong

  • Cause of the party
  • Also sail a boat
  • Celebrate
  • Abandon the Khom Loi


Cause of the party

At the end of the rainy season, a large amount of water flows through the Chao Phraya River. Because the country is in a delta shape, like a half bowl, with all the water flowing to the lowest point, a large concentration of water will be drained from the north to the south. Already seven hundred years ago during the Sukhothai dynasty, the daughter of a Brahmin priest named Nang Noppamas gave thanks to the river because all the water had passed without causing much damage. Since then, every year in the twelfth month, corresponding to the last week of October and the first three weeks of November, during the correct moon phase (full moon), the vast majority of the Thai population launches a boat into the water. It is called the Krathong and contains the sacred Lotus flower, with a burning candle and three to nine incense sticks. This worship of the river goddess Mea Kong Ka originally comes from India, where everyone worships and thanks the sacred river Ganges.

Also sail a boat

Source: Http://geinformeerd.infoteur.nlOn the day that people go to the riverbanks to celebrate the festival, you will see many people present at the temples around 7:30 PM. There are many who want to sail a boat for their family, partners or a loved one. So it is a point of reflection within Thai culture, just like lighting a candle for someone special in church. Of course it can be for yourself, but it can also be for a loved one who has just died. This means that you, as a tourist for someone special, can also participate in this. You can choose the boat of your choice at a temple, for which a small fee is often charged, around 100 to 150 Bath. Use three incense sticks for those who are still with us, but use nine incense sticks for those who have already passed away. You can also make a boat yourself, but you must ensure that it is made of biodegradable material. It is prohibited by law to use non-degradable material, because it is polluting.


In Bangkok you will not find a special party after the launching of the Krathong, because many people simply go back to work the next day. Yet on the grounds of the temple (Wat) you will find many stalls with delicious food and fun activities. In the more northern provinces such as around Chiang Mai you can find exuberant parties, which sometimes last for several days. Loi Krathong is an important annual event for the Thais, which is given extra attention in some parts of the country. In addition, decorative fireworks are shot off in many places in the country. You will see decorative fireworks, especially in the center of Bangkok near large bridges or temples.

Abandon the Khom Loi

A special breathtaking experience is to ascend the Khom Loi collectively during the full moon. This is a counterpart of the Krathong, but has just as much meaning. It is a small hot air balloon, which you fly with a number of people. It contains a candle, which traps trapped air. The heated air causes the balloon to automatically rise into the high sky. At one point it seems as if there are thousands of small burning yellow stars in the sky. For example, it is done extensively near Chiang Mai such as in Mae Jo, but you can also find it in other parts of the country. It is also done in Bangkok, but it is not allowed due to air traffic.

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