LOI KRATHONG: Celebration

If you had a bird’s-eye view of Thailand tonight, you would see the waterways of the country sparkling with the light of countless candles. It’s all part of the festival called Loi Krathong. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Every year, the days surrounding November’s full moon mark the celebration of Loi Krathong. The word loi means “to float” and krathong refers to a special cup typically made out of banana leaves in the shape of a lotus blossom.

“They shape these krathongs, these cups out of leaves, and of course today it takes the shape of boats, birds, birdcages, anything that comes to one’s imagination, and decorate them with flowers, candles and incense, and in a lot of cases, spare change – coins. People usually at dusk say a brief prayer and then float these krathongs downstream, and watch as they drift out of sight.”

Nat Boonthanakit is with the Thai Tourism Authority.

“When the sun sets and people gather on the banks of the river, there’s this almost overpowering aroma of incense – gives you a sort of light-headed feeling as you become involved in this festivity. Everyone’s almost laughing, but at the same time a little subdued, because it take a little concentration to make a wish before you let your krathong drop onto the water. And once the candles are all lit, it’s a spectacular sight. We strongly believe that the krathongs, if they float out of sight and if the candles stay lit, that our wishes will come true and that the light from the candles will take our cares away, at least for the rest of the year.”

We’ll hear more about the history and significance of Loi Krathong in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I’m Jim Metzner.

LOI KRATHONG: Celebration

"Loi Krathong" means "floating leaf cup." November’s full moon heralds this festival, where candlelit floats sail along Thailand’s waterways.
Air Date:11/13/1997
Scientist:
Transcript:

If you had a bird's-eye view of Thailand tonight, you would see the waterways of the country sparkling with the light of countless candles. It's all part of the festival called Loi Krathong. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Every year, the days surrounding November's full moon mark the celebration of Loi Krathong. The word loi means "to float" and krathong refers to a special cup typically made out of banana leaves in the shape of a lotus blossom.

"They shape these krathongs, these cups out of leaves, and of course today it takes the shape of boats, birds, birdcages, anything that comes to one's imagination, and decorate them with flowers, candles and incense, and in a lot of cases, spare change - coins. People usually at dusk say a brief prayer and then float these krathongs downstream, and watch as they drift out of sight."

Nat Boonthanakit is with the Thai Tourism Authority.

"When the sun sets and people gather on the banks of the river, there's this almost overpowering aroma of incense - gives you a sort of light-headed feeling as you become involved in this festivity. Everyone's almost laughing, but at the same time a little subdued, because it take a little concentration to make a wish before you let your krathong drop onto the water. And once the candles are all lit, it's a spectacular sight. We strongly believe that the krathongs, if they float out of sight and if the candles stay lit, that our wishes will come true and that the light from the candles will take our cares away, at least for the rest of the year."

We'll hear more about the history and significance of Loi Krathong in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I'm Jim Metzner.