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Thailand Lantern Festivals

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Thailand Lantern Festivals literally consists of two festivals – the Loy Krathong Festival and the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, which are held at almost the same time. Many people get confused between these two festivals and some even think they are the same. Indeed, the two festivals are similar in that they both create spectacular displays of light. However, the fact is that they are two separate festivals, both of which hold a pivotal position in Thai culture.

Loy Krathong Festival sees groups of candle-lit lotus lanterns float on the river, while Yi Peng Lantern Festival will witness thousands of lanterns flying into the night sky.

The Loy Krathong Festival is a national traditional festival in Thailand, and the Yi Peng Lantern Festival is a landmark festival exclusively in the Chiang Mai region of northern Thailand. Here are the details about these two festivals. Read them and you will understand their essence and differences.

Loy Krathong Festival - Water Lantern Festival

The 2023 Loy Krathong Festival will be held on Tuesday, November 28 and usually lasts for three days.

The annual Loy Krathong Festival, held on the night of the twelfth full moon of the Thai lunar calendar (November in the Gregorian calendar), is a festival to witness the romantic love of young Thai men and women. At that time, the places in both cities and towns near the rivers or lakes will be filled with water lanterns, and shining candlelight.

According to the traditional Thai custom, the Thai people will put their handmade water lanterns into the river on the day of the Loy Krathong Festival to pray for good wishes and blessings. There are various shapes of water lanterns, such as pagodas, boats, and lotus, among which the lotus is the most beautiful. Usually, there are incense sticks, flowers, and colored paper flags inserted in the middle of the water lanterns to show respect for Buddha. There are also several coins placed on the lanterns as a sign of almsgiving.

Before releasing the water lanterns, everyone will light the incense, close their eyes, mumble words for praying for peace and happiness in the coming year or pray for children’s academic progress. But more often than not, young men and women come together to release the water lantern, mostly for love prayers, hoping to make a good relationship early and forever love.

Thailand Loy Krathong Festival Water Lantern Festival
People are releasing the water lanterns

 

Where can visitors celebrate Loy Krathong?

There are many places in Bangkok to set off water lanterns, and the Chao Phraya River is one of the most popular.

As the birthplace of Loy Krathong, Sukhothai is the perfect place to experience Thailand’s Loy Krathong Festival. In Sukhothai Historical Park, visitors can enjoy not only the water lantern release event, but also fireworks, windmill shows, and beauty pageants.

Chiang Mai is also an important city for celebrating the Loy Krathong Festival. You can participate in the traditional water lantern festival both by the moat of Chiang Mai and in the city. In addition to the water lanterns, Chiang Mai hosts the Sky Lantern Festival, where thousands of lanterns float in the sky in a breathtakingly beautiful display.

If you’re looking for a place that is not crowded to release water lanterns, Phuket is the destination to go.

Yi Peng Lantern Festival - Sky Lantern Festival

The 2023 Yi Peng Lantern Festival will be held on Monday and Tuesday, November 27-28.

Yi Peng Lantern Festival is an important festival of the Lanna people in northern Thailand, with a history of more than 2,500 years. The release of the sky lanterns means to ask for forgiveness from the river gods and the sky gods, hoping to send away bad luck and suffering and bring good fortune. In fact, the Sky Lantern Festival is part of the Loy Krathong Festival.

The Sky Lantern Festival is also held on the night of the full moon in December of the Thai calendar and lasts for 2 days. The festival is now considered to be Thai Valentine’s Day when young men and women release a paper lantern, a symbol of their passionate love for each other. The event is accompanied by a chanting ceremony with monks sitting on the stage.

Thailand Yi Peng Lantern Festival
Sky Lantern Festival

 

How do visitors celebrate the Yi Peng Lantern Festival? – Venues & Tickets

Chiang Mai’s Yi Peng Lantern Festival is the biggest in Thailand, including free and for-pay venues. The free venues hold small-scale events organized spontaneously by the people, with no fixed area.

According to the government, people can only light sky lanterns near the Thaphae Gate and Nawarat Bridge of the Mae Ping River between 19:00 and 24:00. All other places and times are not allowed to hold this activity. Free sky lantern flying sites may be more chaotic, so we recommend visitors to the for-pay fields to experience the grand atmosphere of the Yi Peng Lantern Festival.

Due to security concerns, the for-pay venues for Yi Peng Lantern Festival have been open since 2015. Chiang Mai’s official Sky Lantern Festival 2022 was only held at the CAD Cultural Center Lanna Ethnicity with three ticket categories: Standard (12-18 rows of seats), VIP (6-11 rows of seats), and Premium (1-5 rows of seats). Visitors can be transported free of charge from the gathering place and enjoy a delicious meal (which varies depending on the seat).

You can also see a lot of people releasing water lanterns on the Yi Peng Lantern Festival. Make a water lantern under the guidance of a local artisan and release it for good wishes.

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