Thailand is a magical country with deep spiritual roots in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Animism. The Loy Krathong Festival is one of the many celebrations enjoyed by Thai people, which symbolizes the end of the rainy season, blessings from the Water Goddess, letting go of your dark side, and cutting your nails.
What is Loy Krathong?
Peter Miller, a long time digital nomad and entrepreneur living in Chiang Mai, describes the Loy Krathong Festival as follows:
Thailand reveals her true colors this weekend with the unique festival known as Loy Krathong. This is a very meaningful annual event for Thai people that occurs on the full moon of the 12th lunar month.
The Thai word Loy means, float; and Krathong means, a small raft containing a candle.
These are handcrafted and sent afloat down the Ping river or any lake and even the canal.
The Krathong’s are available to purchase from a stall close to the river.
There are many parades showcasing traditional Thai art and costumes as well as contests to determine the most exquisitely detailed Krathong.
Build your raft, fill it with candles, hair, money, and other personal items, and then send it floating down the river as you pay respect to the river spirit.
The Krathong’s are meant to contain the negative aspects of one’s own life and ideas that need to be let go.
What does the Loy Krathong Festival Symbolise?
Thai people celebrate the Loy Krathong Festival by creating a small raft made from a banana leaf decorated with flowers, candles, and nail clippings (yes, that’s right).
As the rice harvest and the rainy season comes to an end, Loy Krathong is a festival to give thanks to the Water Goddess for another year of abundance and prosperity.
Ganga is the name of a Hindu Goddess, worshipped for her abilities to remove sin and the controller of Moksha (liberation from the cycle of life and death).
Floating a Krathong down the river is a way of expressing your gratitude to the Goddess of Water for nourishing our lives.
Cutting fingernails (seriously?)
When Thai people prepare their Krathong’s to float down the river, they may add toenail clippings, nose hair trimmings, locks or hair, and possibly flaking skin𑁋gross, right?
Think of the times when bad things happened in your life.
Perhaps you lost a job, broke up with a lover, or experienced a near-death experience. These moments often result in deep inner reflection with an outward sign of change, such as getting a new hair cut.
When bad things happen, cutting your hair and trimming your nails is a sign of letting go of any evil thoughts and feelings.
This may sound strange, but clipping your nails and trimming your hair is a way to let things go and start a new path forward, free from negative thoughts, feelings, and energy.
The main purpose of the Loy Krathong Festival is to pay respect to the Goddess of Water and letting go of your dark side.
Perhaps due to the Water Goddess’s ability to cleanse the spirit, this festival becomes a time to float away our anger, hatred, and grudges.
Sometimes we need a symbolic gesture to assist with the process of letting go of old memories, bad feelings, toxic relationships, and dark chapters in our lives.
Creating a Krathong, lighting a candle, and releasing it down the river is the perfect act of letting go.
In Western cultures, it can be difficult to let go of our anger, hatred, and grudges. Most holidays consist of materialistic celebrations with jolly fat men or cute little bunnies.
The Loy Krathong Festival is a beautiful Thai tradition that lets you realign your energies and release your grip on self-defeating habits.
Loy Krathong Song
November full moon shines
Loy Krathong Loy Krathong
And the water’s high
in local river and the klong
Loy Loy Krathong Loy Loy Krathong
Loy Krathong is here
and everybody’s full of cheers
We’re together at the Klong
each one with his Krathong
as we push away we pray
we can see a better day
Are you holding on to negative feelings or allowing your dark side to control your thoughts? Maybe it’s time to meet your local Water Goddess, clip your toenails, and let go of any negative emotions you carry inside.