Thailand Loy Krathong - Water Lantern Festival in 2024 & 2025

Loy Krathong, also known as the Water Lantern Festival, is the biggest Thailand festival in November. With comfortable temperatures and festival vibes in Thailand, the whole country will be decorated with water lanterns floating along rivers, and Thai people will go to the streets to watch the float parade and go to the temples for blessing. If you meet the Lantern Festival when you travel to Thailand, you are sure to have a great travel experience.

Read on and find what you are curious about Loy Krathong!

It is a festival where lights are put down in the water and pray. People will use banana leaves, fruits, or flowers to make water lanterns. In addition, Thais believe that these lanterns can drive away bad luck.

In the past, Loy Krathong was used to thank water gods and rivers for their nurturing gifts. At present, this festival is also regarded as Valentine's Day in Thailand. Young men and women lower water lanterns at the river to pray for a relationship. Couples put down lanterns by the river to pray for their long love and happiness. The locals attach great importance to this festival, no matter whether in cities or towns, as long as there is water, water lanterns are floating on the water's surface, flashing pieces of lights.

Water Lantern ReleaseWater Lantern Release

The Loy Krathong this year will be celebrated on the night of November 16th, 2024.

In 2024, this festival will fall on the night of November 6th, 2025.

The Water Lantern Festival is another major festival in Thailand, in addition to the Songkran Water Festival. It is held every year on the full moon night of the 12th month of the Thai calendar, which is generally November in the Gregorian calendar. At this time, just after the rainy season, the river is abundant, which is a good time to put out water lanterns. The festival is celebrated throughout Thailand, with Bangkok and Chiang Mai being the most famous places. The time varies from place to place. For example, Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai will be held on November 15th, 2024. Bangkok hosts the Water Lantern Festival on November 16th, 2024.

Water Lantern FestivalWater Lantern Festival

There is no unified version of the legend about Loy Krathong. Whether it is folklore or historical, records also vary. The most common are the following two legends.

Sick Princess Praying for Health to Buddha

A long time ago, there was a sick princess who met Buddha Shakyamuni under the Bodhi tree. The Buddha told her that if she wanted to drive away the disease, she had to put pieces of her nails and hair in a lotus-shaped lamp holder on the full moon night of December of the Buddhist calendar and then light a candle and put it in the river. After that, this method became known to the people and began to be passed down to the present day, gradually developing into today's Water Lantern Festival.

Celebration Created by Princess Nophamas

Another saying is that during the Sukhothai dynasty, the first dynasty in Thailand, the residents gathered in the capital to celebrate the "Lantern Festival" on the 15th day of the 12th month of the Thai calendar. One of the many noble princesses, Nophamas, ingeniously folded banana leaves into a lotus-shaped lantern boat, filled it with other ornaments, lit incense sticks, and put it in the water to make it float in the wind to express her gratitude to the Buddha, and the river god. The king was delighted to see this and ordered that this water lantern be used as an example to set the 15th day of the 12th month of the Thai calendar as the Water Lantern Festival every year.

Water Lantern (Krathong)Water Lantern (Krathong)

In fact, the Water Lantern Festival is celebrated in many places in Thailand. But if you want to feel the liveliest holiday atmosphere, the following three places are more recommended.

Sukhothai - Water Lamp Design

This is one of the places where the Water Lantern Festival is held in the most grand and lively manner. As originally the capital of the Sukhothai dynasty, Sukhothai's rich and fertile cultural background provides an ancient atmosphere of celebration for the Festival.

One of the featured activities in Sukhothai is the Water Lamp Design. You can make your own water lanterns here. Different flower arrangements also have different meanings. For example, jasmine symbolizes love and family harmony. The horn melon represents good luck and victory. After designing, you can gather with the locals in an ancient temple to float water lanterns in the hope of being blessed by the gods and expressing their good wishes to their ancestors.

Besides, there will be a float parade on the day of the festival. Everyone wears distinctive costumes as if taking you back to the dynasty. 

Traditional Dance for Loy KrathongTraditional Dance for Loy Krathong

Bangkok - Float with the Water Lanterns

In Bangkok, the Water Lantern Festival is a lively event with many activities for you to get involved in. Every year, the municipal government will hold a grand and lively festival at the airport near Royal Field in cooperation with private businesses and schools. The event is held around the clock, including singing competitions, Thai classical drama performances, and more, which are really lively.

On the night of the festival, water lanterns are set off no matter where there are small lakes, canals in the city, or even in halls with water jets and other large and small pools. If you want to avoid the crowd on the Mekong River's Banks, you could take a boat trip to the Chao Phraya River from AISAQUTIE, the largest pier night market in Asia, and watch the romantic fireworks set off in the air and the colorful lanterns and boats decorated in the river.

Chiang Mai - Water Lanterns Plus Sky Lanterns

To say where the largest Water Lantern Festival is held, it must be in Chiang Mai. In addition to putting water lanterns in the water, you can also see the spectacle of thousands of people putting up sky lanterns, celebrating the Yi Peng Festival at the same time.

To join this ceremony, you can go to Tha Phae Gate, Maejo University, and Huay Tueng Tao. When night comes, everyone counts down together and watches the sky lanterns fly into the distance, praying for blessings. These sky lanterns are like stars in the dark, contrasting with the water lanterns in the water, which are stunning and beautiful.

In addition, you can join in the lighting ceremony and watch dance performances in the Three Kings Monument. Or, go to Nawarat Bridge, the best viewing spot, where you can release sky lanterns with people from all corners of the country, embrace the bright starry sky together, and spend a magical and romantic night there.

Monks Release Sky Lanterns in Chiang MaiMonks Release Sky Lanterns in Chiang Mai

Tips for the Water Lantern Festival

(1) Sun Protection

The Lantern Festival is a hot summertime in Thailand, so it is important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.

(2) How to Put Water Lanterns

Before putting on the light, you can write your name and date of birth, then light the candle, put it in water with both hands to keep it balanced, and then put your hands together and start praying. Besides, don't pinch other people's lanterns at random, and observe the order of the venue.

(3) Be Careful of Valuables

There must be a lot of people when the lantern starts to be released at night, so keep your valuables safe. Pay attention to carrying your own bag well, and don't lose your passport or money.

(4) Attention to Fire Safety

Whether you put on a sky lantern or a water lantern, listen carefully to the host of the teaching steps. Both require the use of fire, which needs to be handled carefully in case the lantern ignites or is damaged by careless operation.

The blessing folklore and the festival atmosphere will make you experience exquisite and authentic Thai life. The water lanterns in the river are like the stars in the sky, floating and twinkling. If you want to experience the culture of the country and the atmosphere of the festival, the Lantern Festival is a time you cannot miss. Travel with Odynovo to experience the fun of the Water Lanterns Festival.

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