For me this will be the first time seeing such a much talked about festival in Thailand, I have seen photos on google so I was looking forward to seeing the real live festival the reason I haven't seen this Loy Krathong live as yet is because, it had been cancelled the past couple of years due to the pandemic, so this was going to be a whole new experience for me and was certainly looking forward to this festival which was nice of the Thai government to allow this festival to go ahead this year.
This event is celebrated all around the country and the meaning of Loy Krathong festival is where the people of the country will come together and gather around lakes, rivers, beaches and canals to pay there respects to the Goddess of water Ganga and ask for forgiveness in what ever they might have done wrong in the past year so they can start of a new year cleansed of their sins and bad lucks.
So once they have prayed and asked for forgiveness from Ganga the Goddess of water they release their floating basket into the water these floating baskets can be shaped in many different ways decorated with many beautiful varieties of flowers the most common been the lotus flower then adding the incense and candles in the center, it is said that the further out to sea or lake the floating basket goes and having to stay alight they believe there new fresh year will bring them a string of good luck and good fortune.
The funny thing I was noticing was that if they believed that the further out to sea the floating basket goes and stays a light they were going to have a great year well seeing what was happening on the beach as soon as they released their floating basket they wouldn't even make, it of the shore line a wave would come in capsize them and the candle would be drowned, so I don't know what sought of year they were going to have there were some people literally walking further out to sea to release their floating basket making sure it wouldn't come back to shore, I think those people needed a lot of forgiveness they must have really had some bad luck to go to that extreme.
There is also a beautiful traditional dress up for the ladies and men if they like but its mainly the ladies that will dress up for this special festival and its rather colorful and stylish I will say. In this first photo its the 7 Eleven staff dressed up in their Loy Krathong outfits very pretty never seen this before they really do go out of their way for this festival.
As I was walking along the Jomtien Beach Road I was taking notice of the Thai people putting these floating baskets together, it didn't look easy folding banana leaves in decorative shapes and stapling them onto this waterproof foam base then adding the flowers and dressing it all up this one older lady had one done in about 5 minutes obviously she has been doing this for years I would not have even got to first stage in 5 minutes was intriguing to see this getting made in front of me, they would sell then from $2 US up to $4 US depending on what style and size you preferred.
The Loy Krathong festival is all about happiness everyone comes together letting go of all their anger and grudges by making it an fun festival with Loy Krathong traditional dancing, music and food even the big boom box pick-up trucks were blaring that music out it was one of the most friendly's festival I have even seen or been to everyone was talkative and smiles everywhere the vibes I experienced here never before anywhere in the world that I have being, it had just turned into a amazing big party town.
In the nearly 4 years that I have been in Thailand, I hadn't seen crowds like this I could see that Thailand was coming back to the norm not the new norm it was great to see the people of Thailand starting to achieve a proper living again and I was really enjoying this, the way I have known Thailand to be the street vendors food was just exquisite I don't think I stopped nibbling all night I just had to try a bit of everything including a banana pancake.
The Lanterns are also part of a Loy Krathong festival which is another thing I had never seen before and the reason behind these Lanterns again is similar to the floating basket the act of setting of a Lantern into the heavens to a extreme heights, is to let all your tribulations fly away from you another metaphor that the Thai culture believes in. I heard that in Chiang Mai north of Thailand, is the best place to see a Loy Krathong festival apparently they let of thousands of Lanterns into the sky making the sky look like a galaxy of stars. There were vendors on the beach walking around selling these Lanterns for $3 US.
We had been on the beach for a few hours now and saw everything that was possible, had a great feed from the street vendors then my friend suggested we go to a lakeside which was only about 5km from the beach in towards the local area there he said I would be able to capture better photos of the floating basket in the lake without them being crashed and drowned by the beach waves so off we went through the traffic jams it was a busy night.
He was right this was more like it definitely more magical seeing these floating baskets gathering up together looking like a rainbow in the lake so colorful and peaceful to look at, its how I imagined to see Loy Krathong, so happy we came to see the other version of Loy Krathong in a pretty lake with amazing reflections and sparkling the Gods of the water were happier here.
This has being one of my most enjoyable nights since arriving in Thailand so happy to see everyone happy again and I hope I can have time to travel to Chiang Mai next year to see this festival full on looking at the sky filled with Lanterns.