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Thailand’s Festival of Lights


The Festival of Lights in Thailand commemorates the New Lunar Year. Look near the bottom of this article to see a 29 second video of this scene. It’s remarkable!

Thailand’s Festival of Lights is a spectacular sight to behold. I am always fascinated with Thai celebrations because vegetable and fruit carving is very popular in Thailand. My wonderful carving teachers are Thai and so I feel a connection with their culture and always want to learn more about it.

Today, I want to share with you some photos from Thailand’s Festival of Lights, also known as Loy Krathong, which is a spiritual celebration full of colors and mesmerizing lights. Since summer holidays are over and it may be getting a little colder where you live, I thought you could use an armchair adventure right about now. I know I could! So let’s escape for a few moments to mystical Thailand to catch the amazing Loy Krathong Festival.

festival of lights loy krathong

Thai people float “krathongs” in the water as a spiritual offering

Thailand’s Festival of Lights, which commemorates the New Lunar Year, is usually held on the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar. This year, the festival falls on the 28th of November. Besides offering an awe-inspiring show of lights in the water and sky, Loy Krathong has a strong spiritual significance for the Thai people. The word “loy” means “to float”, and “Krathong” is roughly translated as a small lotus shaped raft that floats on the water. It is believed that the act of letting go of the krathong into the water is an offering to the Mother of Waters, in order to wash away one’s grief and make room for positive changes and blessings. It is customary to leave some coins in the krathong to bring good fortune. Some people even leave bits of fingernails or strands of hair in the krathong as a symbol of letting go of negative aspects of their life.

The Loy Krathong are often hand made out of mostly natural materials including banana trunk and leaves, orchids, marigolds and incense:

krathrongs festival of lights

Krathongs are hand made and decorated with banana trunks and leaves, flowers and incense

Besides the floating krathongs, the Festival of Lights also gets its name from the release of hundreds of hot air lanterns into the sky. These cylindical paper lanterns, known as “khom fai”, are launched during the festival as a representation of sending one’s misfortunes away into the sky. A prayer is often said before the launch and it is believed that if your lantern disappears from sight while it is still lit, then your prayer has been heard. Make sure to watch the 30 second video at the bottom of this article to see how amazing the release of these floating lanterns can be.

Thailand festival of lights lanterns

Hot air lanterns are launched into the sky during the Festival of Lights as another symbolic and spiritual offering

The Thai people have a special reverence for water because of its ability give life and to wash away the old, both literally and symbolically. The Festival of Lights pays homage to the Buddhist tradition of giving thanks to the Goddess of Water, while asking for forgiveness of past sins. Another grand Thai celebration to check out is The Water Festival, or the Songkran Festival, which takes place every year in April to celebrate the Thai New Year. Here, water is recognized for the same reasons but takes on life at a whole new level. Check out the Songkran Festival (Water Festival) on my blog!

Photos from Thailand’s Festival of Lights

Here are a few more photos of Thailand’s Loy Krathong, or Festival of Lights, celebrations:

Festival of lights in Thailand

A beautiful display of lights during the Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand



Sending off krathongs in the water represents the washing away of the old in order to embrace the new


loy krathong festival of lights

A family sails off their krathongs together to give thanks to the Water Goddess, Mae Khongkha



Dancing and music are a large part of of the Loy Krathong festivities. Here, dancers dressed in traditional clothing hold krathongs as part of their performance.


Beauty pageant festival of lights

The Loy Krathong Festival’s beauty pageant


Festival of Lights in Chang Mai

The Mae Jo University in Chang Mai is the best place to take part in the lantern launch

The Festival of Lights is considered the most romantic night in Thailand! Courting couples often float off a krathong together under the full moon, while making a wish for lasting love.

young-couple-festival of lights

Young couples release their krathongs together in hopes of fulfilling their dreams


See the Spectacular Lantern Launch During Thailand’s Festival of Lights in Video.

Here is a short video clip of the hot air lantern launch in Chang Mai, Thailand, during the Festival of Lights:

Isn’t it breathtaking? I can only imagine what it must feel like to experience such a powerful and stunning display!

I hope you enjoyed our little armchair adventure to Thailand for the Festival of Lights. To see my blog post showing photos of the fruit carvings that we carved for the local Thai Festival of Lights, Loy Krathong, click here.

Learn to carve like a pro

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