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Plans for Loy Krathong Festival in Several Provinces Announced

Chiang Mai, Wed Oct 19 2016
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Planned Loy Krathong festival celebrations have been cancelled or toned down in several provinces as the nation continues to mourn the passing of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Bangkok Post reports this morning.

In Sukhothai, governor Piti Kaeo-salapsi, said the province's official plans to celebrate the Loy Krathong festival this year between the 14th and 16th November have now been cancelled, however locals can float their own krathong as usual.

In Tak province, long renowned for its unique Loy Krathong Sai festival, in which candle-lit krathong bowls are launched into the river in an seemingly endless line, also announced parts of the festival initially planned for November 12 to 17 would be called off. Muang Tak municipality mayor Ananchai Thawikeuakit said the locals had agreed to launch 999 Krathong bowls in the Ping River in a solemn rite to remember the late King Rama IX and join the nation in mourning his death.

In Chiang Mai where the festival was originally set for November 13 to 15, governor Pawin Chamniprasart said there would be no spectacular fireworks displays, concerts or beauty contests this year but traditional activities to mark the 12th lunar month, including Yi Peng and Loy Krathong, will go ahead, but in a sombre manner. Following his meetings with mayor of Chiang Mai, Tassanai Buranapakorn, the provincial tourism and sports office, the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Chiang Mai office and the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association to discuss the traditional Yi Peng Festival, the meeting agreed that, in principle, traditional activities such as the floating of krathong, the Krathong contest and decorations of city, temple gates and buildings could go ahead but floating lanterns must be made from white or grey paper only. There will however be no fireworks, concerts or beauty contests to showcase the festival this year.

Loy Krathong ceremony which is said to have originated some 700 years ago, in Sukhothai is one of the most popular and picturesque festivals in Thailand every year. Loy Krathong festival is when people gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respect and give thanks to the goddess of water by releasing beautiful lotus shaped rafts, decorated with candles, incense and flowers onto the water. Every year, Loy Krathong falls on the night of the twelfth lunar month which is usually in November, at the end of the rainy season when the full-moon lights up the sky. The sight of thousands of Krathongs, their flickering candles sending a thousand pinpoints of light far into the horizon is a truly magical site.

The history behind the festival is complex, and Thais celebrate Loy Krathong for many reasons. The main rice harvest season has ended and it’s time to thank the Water Goddess for a year’s worth of her abundant supply, as well as an apology for polluting the waters. Some believe that this is the time to symbolically ‘float away’ all the anger and grudges you have been holding onto, and including a fingernail or a lock of hair is seen as a way of letting go of the dark side of yourself, to start anew free of negative feelings. Thais also believe that if your candle stays alight until your Krathong disappears out of sight, it means you have a year of good luck ahead.

Bangkok Post
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