Loi Kratong and Yee Peng Festival: some November spiritual insight

This time of year brings a festival that’s held throughout all of Thailand called, “Loi Kratong.”  Floating offerings made of usually biodegradable materials are offered to the “Mother River” to ask for forgiveness for the sins that they’ve caused against the rivers, but also for their sins in general.

Sometimes, lovers will send off a kratong together and watch it float down the river together.  It’s believed that if the kratong is still afloat when it goes out of sight down the river (around a bend, or curve in the river), then their love will last forever.

Here is the translation of a traditional Loi Kratong song:

On the full moon day of the 12th lunar month,
Water overflows the banks.
All of us, both boys and girls,
Will have fun together on Loi Krathong Day!
Loi, Loi Krathong…Loi, Loi Krathong,
After we’ve floated our krathongs,
We’ll ask the ladies to come out and dance the ramwong,
Dance the ramwong on Loi Krathong Day,
Dance the ramwong on Loi Krathong Day,
Making merit will bring us happiness,
Making merit will bring us happiness.

In Northern Thailand, another festival that takes place at this time of year is called, “Yee Peng” (Yee means “2nd” and Peng means “month” in Northern Thai (Lanna) language).  This festival includes ‘khom loi‘, which literally translates to ‘floating lanterns.’  These aren’t a kind that float on water but rather float up into the night sky like mini hot air balloons.  They are released as a means of making merit and also to give an offering to Buddha.

Khom lois are also released by the Northern Thai (Tai-Yuan) year round for special occasions or events.  Many see the release of the khom lois as good luck and that as the khom lois float away, so will their problems and sins.

Although historically a Northern Thai (Lanna) festival, it has gained popularity throughout some other areas of Thailand.

A friend of ours created the following short videos on these two festivals. Watch them and then please pray for the people of Thailand (including the Thai-yai!)!

The Making and Meaning of Kratongs

Making Khom Loi Lanterns

Yee Peng Festival

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