The feast "LOI KRATHONG" is an event that happens every year in Thailand on the full moon of the 12th lunar month (first full moon day of November). On the night of the festival in 2005 we headed to the river in Bangkok (the Chao Praya ) to see what the fuss was all about and to enjoy a riverside meal.
NB - We also went in 2006 and I've added some more pictures.
Throughout the evening we saw many couples and families enjoy their meals and then pick up their krathongs to launch on the river. These krathongs are small floats made from a section of banana tree decorated with flowers, banana leaves and a few incense sticks and candles. Many are home made but also you can buy them from stalls set up by the river. After our meal we headed to the ferry jetty and joined the happy throng. Along with the krathongs there were also tubs of fish, eels and turtles. You also gain merit according to Thai custom by releasing these. In addition people were throwing breadcrumbs into the river to feed the masses of catfish. The water was alive with wriggling and foaming fish. We looked at the tables bedecked with krathongs and made our choice. As is custom we balanced a few coins on it for extra luck, lit the candles and gave it to the official launcher. As she set it down onto the calm waters we kept our eyes fixed as it floated serenely down the river and out of sight. The theory is that this ceremony is to seek forgiveness from the spirit of the river and to let one's sins float away. The longer your candle burns and the longer you can see your krathong, the better the next year will be. Have a look at the video below to see our krathong launched and judge for yourself how lucky our next year will be...
feeding time for the catfish
choose your krathong
a family get ready for launch
There are also many colourful floats going up and down the river, bedecked with Buddhist symbols, or celebrating the king.