Loy Krathong, Island-Style


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Thailand is a country packed with fascinating rituals and traditions, from nationwide water festivals to quiet temple rites. In November, Thais celebrate Loy Krathong, a colourful festival of lights, flowers and water. Being surrounded by the sea, Koh Phangan has its own special ways of celebrating and this week’s blog is all about how to get involved.

Loy Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, which, in short, means this year it’s on 25 November. After dusk, people gather to release colourful flower wreaths, adorned with a candle – the ‘krathong’ – onto the water. The candle symbolises Buddha’s enlightenment and the action itself is about letting go of bad feelings. For lots of Thais, it has also become a kind of tribute to the Goddess of Water – in the simple explanation of a Thai child, ‘We say thank you to the water and we say sorry for peeing in it!’ Whether you’re religious or not, maybe that’s a sentiment we can all get behind. Especially if you’re living or staying on an island – perhaps making an offering to the water goddess might be worthwhile. And besides, it’s a good excuse to get together and it looks so pretty with all the flowers adrift and twinkling on the waves.

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How to make your own krathong

While the floating base of a traditional krathong was made from a slice of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant, these days it’s more common to use styrofoam into which it’s easy to stick flowers and a candle. But we recommend a chunk of stale bread; you can wrap it in banana leaf for a traditional look, it floats well and will disintegrate after a few days or give the fish a nice meal. If you’re feeling creative, here’s a handy how-to video:


Where to celebrate on Koh Phangan

The biggest gathering takes place down by the main pier at Thong Sala where locals and tourists on the island come together to release their krathongs onto the waves. At the boys’ school, they spend the day making Chinese lanterns and during the evening the kids release them, filling the sky with more flickers and sparkles. What’s more, like any Thai festival, there’s great food and a party atmosphere.

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So, why not join us for Loy Krathong 2015, it’s a great excuse to get down to the beach and relax in a luxury seaside villa from Bay Residence. To help you out, we’ve put together this guide for the big day: 

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Have you ever made your own krathong? How did it go? Let us know in the comments or post a picture on social media with #BayResidence.

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