Loy Krathong: Honouring Mother Water Local Thai Style

in travelfeed •  3 months ago  (edited)

"So what do YOU do and where do YOU go?!" is the oft-asked question of visitors and travelers. 16 years living in Thailand as a Thai-speaking solo mom and entrepreneur probably qualifies me as an almost-local by now; people are anxious to deselect as novice travelers and find those sweet spots where things are still relatively traditional and authentic..

The annual festival of Loy Krathong is upon us and Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand is literally jumping and popping with tourists. Seemingly gerzillions of them! It is a magnificent time of year, gorgeous weather and yes, it IS my favourite of the myriad of Thai festivals.

Loy Krathong.jpgSource

Firstly, some clarification. Loy Krathong is NOT a lantern festival. It is a Lanna (Northern Thai Kingdom) water festival to honour the River Goddess after the end of the monsoon rains. We thank Her by floating our thanks into the river as flood waters subside. We loy a krathong - a small floating banana 'boat' holding flowers, incense and a candle. We apologize for polluting her and plundering her fish and water plants, and we acknowledge that Mother Water is Life. Loy Krathong is mostly a Northern Thai festival and also celebrated in Burma, Laos and Cambodia. Other than Chiang Mai, THE place to celebrate Loy Krathong is at the ancient historical park at Sii Satchanalai in Sukothai. Everything, everywhere else is a poor, pale shadow.


Loy Krathong always coincides (same moon in same lunar month) with the more Chinese festival of Yee Peng. Instead of sending thanks to Mother Water, we offer our prayers and gratitude as the rains end with paper sky lanterns called Com Loy.


So what do WE do and how do WE celebrate?

We've always made our own krathong. Yes, this is my Little Miss 15 way back when. Please don't ask her about the year I got so elaborate that my krathong sank immediately after hitting the water under the weight of all the flowers. LOL.


If, by chance, we can't manage to make one, we buy one from the poorest looking vendor in a shitty selling spot, and we usually choose the lop sided one that no one else is likely to buy. Why? Cos this is an important retail time for the very poor in Thailand after a long, hard, tourist-less rainy season. Many people have debts to repay and the krathongs they offer for sale are made with what they have blooming in their gardens.

Yes, we buy a Com Loy. 1 each. And we release them with whispered prayers and wishes. We buy them, again, from the vendor at the end of the strip who needs to sell.


Gosh! She was that small? How the years fly.

And we light the little clay candles at dusk on Loy Krathong night, to draw the new energy and the light in.


Yes, that's our first shop in Moon Muang Soi 6, for those of you who remember.

And then we head down to the river! Mae Nam Ping.

BUT WHERE? I hear you shriek!

Haha... we AVOID Tapae Gate, Narawat Bridge, Rama IV Bridge and the general tourist areas. We drive in the back way and usually park along Changklan Road and walk down to Wat Chai Mongkhon.

Screenshot 210.png

You can go to the temple, hear the monks chanting, launch a krathong and your com loy, eat some street food and enjoy the amazing fireworks without worrying about the Iron Bridge collapsing under the weight of all the people crammed onto it.

Our second favourite Loy Krathong spot is Wat Farham.

The Loy Krathong celebrations last for 2-3-4 nights and so we always make sure to spend one evening visiting our old neighbourhood riverside at Talad Baan Tor.

Environmental Issues?

NEVER buy a polystyrene or bread krathong. The quasi-eco-green bread krathongs don't 'feed the fish" - they kill the fish and create blue-green algae bloom down river. A big no no. Polystyrene is also an obvious one to avoid.

We also try to buy only local, natural flowers and not use flowers that have been obviously synthetically dyed. Yes, we try to use flowers from our garden and the local market, rather than putting more money into the industrial chemical-hormone-driven flower empire along the river.

Local governments have special river cleaning floating devices to remove the glut of banana-boat krathongs from the river downstream, and they are then composted. The Thai are a pragmatic people and the River Goddess seems OK with it.

Com Loy? They're made from bamboo and tissue paper. Yes, they fall to the ground when their toilet-roll-wax-oil-soaked wicks burn out. And the Thai people are AMAZING at next day clean up!

Personally, I'm more concerned about the energetic environmental nasty caused by unhappy, critical western people who don't know how to show gratitude or how to celebrate.

As I write this, our local temple in Mae Rim has monks chanting, the crickets are competing with the first fireworks and it would appear that Loy Krathong is already in full swing.

Enjoy. Be safe. Don't buy the cheap (dangerous!) fireworks and please take care of our furry friends who are easily scared and upset by the fireworks.

Originally published on my own blog, My Natural Thai Life - connecting you with all things natural in Thailand.

Come check out my natural Thai herbal business…

Pure Thai Naturals
@ecoTrain Quality Eco-Green-Sustainable Content on Steemit
Proudly contributing to @naturalmedicine natural-medicine banner.jpg

Grateful for the curation and support of @tribesteemuptribesteemupbannerNM2.png

Building a Better World with @innerblocks, Starting Within!

Celebrating and encouraging Freedom, Truth, Happiness, Life and Love with @freedomtribe freedom_steem_tribe.jpg

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

@tipu curate
@giphy curate 100

A huge hug from @amico! 🤗

#sbi-skip !trdo

Upvoted 👌 (Mana: 5/15)

Congratulations @amico, you successfuly trended the post shared by @artemislives!
@artemislives will receive 0.30280838 TRDO & @amico will get 0.20187225 TRDO curation in 3 Days from Post Created Date!

"Call TRDO, Your Comment Worth Something!"

To view or trade TRDO go to steem-engine.com
Join TRDO Discord Channel or Join TRDO Web Site

Upvoted 👌

Powered by witness untersatz!
Current VP: 69.73%

Congratulations @artemislives, your post successfully recieved 0.30280838 TRDO from below listed TRENDO callers:

@amico earned : 0.20187225 TRDO curation

To view or trade TRDO go to steem-engine.com
Join TRDO Discord Channel or Join TRDO Web Site

Congratulations @artemislives! You have completed the following achievement on the Steem blockchain and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

You received more than 50000 upvotes. Your next target is to reach 55000 upvotes.

You can view your badges on your Steem Board and compare to others on the Steem Ranking
If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

Do not miss the last post from @steemitboard:

SteemFest Meet The Stemians Contest - The mysterious rule revealed

You can upvote this notification to help all Steem users. Learn how here!

@artemislives Es fantastico conocer un poco de la cultura de esta bella nación, es increíble como a través de herramientas como Steem podemos conocer y compartir respecto a nuestras culturas y tradiciones.
Es hermoso ese festival, tiene una cultura de gran riqueza ancestral, no es de extrañar que sea tu favorito.
@artemislives Es fantastico conocer un poco de la cultura de esta bella nación, es increíble como a través de herramientas como Steem podemos conocer y compartir respecto a nuestras culturas y tradiciones.
Es hermoso ese festival, tiene una cultura de gran riqueza ancestral, no es de extrañar que sea tu favorito.

Totally beautiful! It feels like a reverent atmosphere. Wonderful publication, @artemislives!

Congratulations, Your Post Has Been Added To The Steemit Worldmap!
Author link: http://steemitworldmap.com?author=artemislives
Post link: http://steemitworldmap.com?post=loy-krathong-honouring-mother-water-local-thai-style

Want to have your post on the map too?

  • Go to Steemitworldmap
  • Click the code slider at the bottom
  • Click on the map where your post should be (zoom in if needed)
  • Copy and paste the generated code in your post
  • Congrats, your post is now on the map!

Congratulations! Your high-quality travel content was selected by @travelfeed curator @mrprofessor and earned you a reward, in form of an upvote and a resteem. Your work really stands out! Your article now has a chance to get featured under the appropriate daily topic on our TravelFeed blog.
Thank you for being part of the TravelFeed community!

Did you know that you get larger upvotes when posting through TravelFeed.io? Also, thanks to the travel writing contest by @invisusmundi you can now earn up to 100 STEEM on top of the post rewards when posting through our new platform TravelFeed.io! Read the contest announcement for more information on how to participate.

We are continuously working on improving TravelFeed, recently we presented at SteemFest⁴, published our Android app and launched our Steem witness.

Please consider voting for us as a witness. If you're not sure how to do that, it's easy: Head over to our Support Us page and hit the witness voting button to vote with Steem Keychain, or Steemconnect if you are not a Keychain user. Alternatively, use this Steemconnect link or head over to the Steemit Wallet and enter travelfeed in the box.

Learn more about TravelFeed by clicking on the banner above and join our community on Discord.

My wife and I are in Pattaya right now and we got to experience Loy Krathong as well. When we left Bangkok yesterday to come here we were sad because we thought we were going to miss it but we were happy to see that it was going on here as well. I hope that you had a great celebration.

Oh what a beautiful celebration! And that you get two at once! I love watching the little boats floating in the water and candles floating in the sky - it would fill me with wonder! I can only image what a marvelous evening(s) it would be - Thanks for sharing!

ah, i didn't know the bread kratongs would harm the fish. This is completely the opposite of what we are told. I just don't do a krathong at all, just look at other people's. It is a nice holiday but my dog is really happy it is over. ;)

Hiya, @itchyfeetdonica here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made into our Honorable Mentions in Daily Travel Digest #679.

Your post has been manually curated by the @steemitworldmap team. If you like what we're doing, please drop by to check out all the rest of today's great posts and consider upvoting and supporting us.