In Chiang Mai is very famous the “Loy Krathong” festival held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar.
In the western calendar this usually falls in November.
During the festival people prepare a krathong a small rafts made of bread to be sent do the river currents.
The reason for using bread for the krathongs is to protect the environment since having many rafts in the river can create a huge water pollution problem.
Finally bread will become food for fishes and other animals in the river.
Banana leaves is another biodegradable material often used, but it takes longer to be degraded than a bread. Therefore, bread is the most environmental friendly choice to make a raft, modern foam rafts, instead, should be strongly forbidden.
The krathon is decorated with elaborately folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, incense sticks etc.
During the night of the full moon, many people will float the krathong on a river.
Thai people believe that floating a raft on the river is to honor and pay respect to the Goddess of Water and to apologize for the bad things we have done to the river during the past year.
Apart from venerating the Buddha with light (the candle on the raft), the act of floating away the candle raft is symbolic of letting go of all one’s grudges, anger and defilements, so that one can start life afresh on a better foot.
People will also cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the raft as a symbol of letting go of the bad parts of oneself.
A beauty contest in Chiang Mai always accompany the krathong festival; according to legend, Noppamas was a consort of the Sukothai king Loethai (14th century) and she was the first to float a decorated krathong.
In the northern part of Thailand, also in Chiang Mai, in addition to creating krathong people also celebrate the festival with “Kom Loy” a thin fabric with a candle on the bottom and let the hot air get inside so that “Kom Loy” can go up in the air like a balloon.
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