Floating our cares away
We take a look at how Loy Krathong is being celebrated all over the country in the new normal
This year, the much-loved festival of Loy Krathong, which is marked on the night of the full moon of the 12th lunar month, falls on Saturday, October 31 and in a rare twist of fate coincides with Halloween. Despite – or perhaps because of this calendrical fluke – a big turnout is expected at celebration venues in Bangkok and other parts of the country. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is expecting more than 300,000 local tourists to turn out for the Loy Krathong celebration, generating more than 580 billion baht for the ailing economy.
TAT’s celebration this year is dubbed “Delightful Colours of the River, Loy Krathong Celebrations 2020” and is being held in the Kingdom’s old capital of Ayutthaya and five unique destinations in Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Tak, Samut Songkhram and Roi Et provinces. And, as is very much part of our new normal, measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be put in place to protect those enjoying a fun night out.
TAT is also supporting the Bangkok River Festival 2020 at nine locations along the Chao Phaya River, Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Prayun Wongsawat, Wat Kalayanamitr, Wat Rakhangkhositaram, Tha Maharaj Pier, Lhong 1919, Asiatique the Riverfront, and Yodpiman Riverwalk as well as sponsoring the “Chao Phraya River of Eternal Prosperity at the River Park” extravaganza being hosted by ICONSIAM.
Visitors at all venues are required to preregister their participation via the mobile application QueQ, and must check in-and-out on the government’s Thai Chana online platform as well as undergo temperature screening on arrival.
Details of TAT’s “Delightful Colours of the River, Loy Krathong Celebrations 2020” are as follows:
30-31 October, 2020, at Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya Historical Park, Ayutthaya
In a return to the glorious celebrations of the Ayutthaya era, festival-goers can release their floats (krathong) in the traditional fashion from the river bank. Visitors are encouraged to wear traditional Thai costume or fabric and walk around the historical site before enjoying rare cultural performances, a traditional krathong procession and a fireworks display. Food will be available from local vendors. Just remember to sign up in advance with the QueQ mobile app.
- Yee Peng Festival 2020, Chiang Mai
31 October – 1 November, 2020, various venues in the city centre
In the North of Thailand, Loy Krathong coincides with the Lanna festival of lanterns known as Yee Peng. The lanterns are everywhere, bathing houses, temples and other venues with their soft light. Do note though that mass releases of sky lanterns have been prohibited in recent years due to the danger to air traffic.
Activities include grand krathong processions at the Three Kings Monument, Tha Phae Gate, Chang Phuak Gate, Suan Dok Gate, Somphet Market Intersection, Chiang Mai Gate, and Chiang Mai Municipal Office. “Tam Phang Patit Song Fa Haksa Mueang” (Light the Lanterns to Guard the City) showcases the lives, history and culture of the local people at Lanna Folklife Museum (ends October 30); “Tam Prathip” (Light the Lanterns) takes place on 31 October from 6pm around the old city moat. Visitors can also enjoy releasing Lanna-style Krathong Sai and the Yee Peng Little Boys and Girls Contest at the Chiang Mai Municipality Office.
For those preferring to celebrate from afar, the festival will be available online via www.yeepengonline.com.
- Sukhothai Loy Krathong and Candle Festival 2020
30 October – 1 November, 2020, at the Sukhothai Historical Park
Already running for the past week, activities here place emphasis on celebrating the unique aspects of Sukhothai’s Loy Krathong. They include a daily morning merit-making ceremony, a light and sound performance, a gala dinner, an old-style market, competitions of the most beautiful krathongs and lanterns, a Nang Noppamat beauty contest, processions, fireworks and much more.
- Loy Krathong Sai Festival and a Thousand Floating Lanterns 2020, Tak
31 October – 1 November, 2020 at Lan Krathong Sai by the Ping Riverside, at the foot of the Somphot Krung Rattanakosin Song Roi Pi Bridge, Tak
Highlights include the ceremony to invite the nine Royal Inaugurated Krathongs and Lanterns and their release, the release of 1,000 floating Lanterns, a ceremony to ask for blessings from “Phra Mae Khongka” (Goddess of the River), a krathong sai competition, and a fair selling local products.
- Loy Krathong Kap Kluai Mae Klong Festival 2020, Samut Songkhram
31 October, 2020, at Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong, Samut Songkhram
Visitors can enjoy the ceremony to invite the Royal Inaugurated Lights and Krathongs, processions, Thai long drum performances, a Mother-Daughter Noppamat Beauty Contest, a workshop on Krathong Kap Kluai making, cultural performances, illuminated boats display, a retro market, and more. Visitors are encouraged to wear traditional Thai costumes or fabric.
Somma Nam Khuen Pheng Seng Prathip 2020, Roi Et
30-31 October, 2020, at Somdet Phra Si Nakarin Public Park and Bueng Phlan Chai, Roi Et
Activities include a ceremony to pay homage to the City’s Sacred Spirits, the ceremony to invite and release the Royal Inaugurated Krathongs; the Somma Nam Khuen Pheng Seng Prathip Thai Folk Dance Contest for 5,000 dance duos, a Thida Saket Nakhon Beauty Contest, a light and sound performance, the release of coconut shell krathongs, and performances by leading Thai artists.