Thailand Celebrates Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง) and Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง)
Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง), one of Thailand’s most beautiful annual festivals, is in full swing. Thai celebrants, as well as some Laotians and Burmese, pay homage to the goddess of waters in November each year to coincide with the full moon of the twelfth lunar.
The name Loi Krathong means floating cup of leaf, and describes one of the festival’s biggest events. Participants release small rafts, or ‘krathong’, decorated with flowers and topped by a flickering candle into the waterways of Thailand as a way to seek forgiveness for past sins.
Perhaps the most photogenic part of Loi Krathong is the Lanna (northern Thai) festival Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง) that coincides with it. Thousands of floating lanterns, or khom loi (โคมลอย), are launched into the air in unison, lighting up the sky. The khom loi are made from a thin fabric, such as rice paper, and have a candle in the center which, when lit, creates enough hot air inside the lantern to lift the khom loi into the sky. The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations take place in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the Lanna Kingdom.