Buddhism is a pathway of practice and spiritual growth leading to insight into the true nature of reality. Buddhist practices like meditation are way of changing yourself in order to build up the qualities of awareness, compassion, and knowledge. Buddhism is actually a non theistic religion that includes a variety of practices, traditions and beliefs which are largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is normally known as the Buddha which means “the awakened one”.
Loy Krathong, the name could be translated as “to flow a basket” and actually comes from a tradition of making krathong, decorated baskets which are then floated in the river. Loy Krathong is practiced on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the conventional Thai lunar calendar.
It is considered to be as Thailand’s festival of lights where in the waters around whole of the country of Thailand becomes alive and beautiful with the lights of candle. Making it blissful scenery which is not supposed to be missed. In this festival people float their beautifully decorated baskets into the pond filled with water as a respect to Lord Buddha and seek forgiveness for any bad deeds they’ve done.
Loy Krathong is often claimed to have started in the Sukhothai by a court lady called Nopphamat. According to H.M. King Rama IV, writing in 1863, it was festival that was adapted by Thai Buddhists in Thailand in order to show respect towards Buddha and the candle venerates the Buddha with light, while the floating Krathong symbolizes letting go of all one’s hatred and all other negative feelings and emotions.
During this lively festival which brings about light there are various other types of interesting competitions which are carried out. Some of them are competition of the best decorated Krathong or the basket, a beauty contest is also conducted which is called as ‘Nopphamat Queen Contests’. There also are big fireworks which gives immense pleasure.
Loy Kathrong also coincides with the very well known festival of ‘Yi peng’; it is the full moon day in second month according to the Lanna lunar calendar. This very festival brings about life and all the negativity and feeling of hate dies down spreading happiness and joy all around. The Buddhists respect this festival as a journey of human soul across the globe.
The ritual is uncomplicated. One has to light a candle and the joss stick, make a wish, place the krathong on the water, then let it float away and take away all the sadness and anger along with it. Traditionally, the krathongs are made of spider lily plant or banana trunk. They contain of joss stick, candles, fruits, flowers and all the Krathongs are beautifully decorated.
The beautiful sight of thousand of candles lit and beautiful baskets floating down the river gives an immense and incapacitating joy which cannot be expressed through words and cannot be compared with anything else.
It is one such festival which is celebrated by the Buddhists in Thailand and parts of Laos and Burma. Loy Krathong is celebrated in Chiang Mai in a very traditional and mystique manner. This is the place where this festival is celebrated in a grand manner just like Deepavali in India.
This festival, comes under ‘not to be missed’ category and if you believe in luck then one must attend this festival. It’s also one of those celebrations that children absolutely love and it will definitely be one of their fondest and cherished memories.