Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November.
Loi means ‘to float’, while krathong refers to a usually lotus-shaped container which floats on the water. The traditional krathong are made of the layers of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant. Modern krathongs are more often made of bread or styrofoam. A bread krathong will disintegrate after a few days and can be eaten by fish. A krathong is decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, incense sticks, and a candle.
The candle venerates the Buddha with light, while the krathong’s floating symbolizes letting go of all one’s hatred, anger, and defilements. People sometime cut their fingernails or hair and placed the clippings on the krathong as a symbol of letting go of negative thoughts.
In other regions sky lanterns (“floating laterns”) are launched into the air.
Malaysia also celebrates Loi Krathong and recognises it as an attraction for tourists. Many people visit the celebration each year.
Sources and photos by tourism office and wiki.