The meaning of Loy Krathong
What does Loy Krathong mean? Loy means to float and Krathong has various meanings. In this case, it means a small container or basket made of banana leaves, adorned with flowers, incense, and candles. Loy Krathong means “to float a basket” which is what many people do during the festival on one of the three days. On many rivers or canal locations, makeshift bamboo construction or steps are constructed to allow people to approach the water.
When is the festival celebrated?
The festival is celebrated annually in the evening of the full moon of the second month of the Lanna lunar calendar, so the exact date changes from year to year. The date of the festival is marked by the appearance of the full moon. However, as a general guide, Loy Krathong is held in November.
Where to see the sky lantern release
Loy Krathong usually falls in the month of November. In Chiang Mai, the festival is also known as Yi Peng or Yee Peng Festival and lasts three days. The first day is the lantern festival, the second day is the full-moon day and the third day is the day of the Loy Krathong parade.
Mae Jo Event (YPLI)
Known as Yee Peng Lanna International (YPLI), this is the lantern release event. It’s held at Mae Jo University and is known for being the biggest Yee Peng event in Chiang Mai. A total of 4,000 tickets are sold to the Mae Jo event which is usually snapped up within the first month or two of going on sale. Seeing 4,000 lanterns being released into the sky at the same time is a spectacular sight and the reason why tourists flock to Chiang Mai every year for Yee Peng.
Yee Peng Private Event at Doi Saket. It was less than half the size of the Mae Jo event with a maximum of 1,600 tickets sold. It was still a spectacular event nonetheless and a good option for people who don’t want to pay at least THB 5,500 for a ticket.
To the east of Chiang Mai Old City is Nawarat Bridge where you can buy lanterns and release them into the sky. It doesn’t have the visual drama of thousands of lanterns floating up to the sky at once, but it may be a good option for people who don’t want to pay for Mae Jo or private event tickets. You just need to pay for the sky lantern which costs about THB 40 each.