The Loi Krathong festival dates back to the time of the Sukhothai Kingdom
(Thailand), about 700 years ago.
It marked the end of the rainy season and the main rice harvest.
It is based on a Hindu tradition of thanking the water god for the waters.
Several Buddhists temples in Malaysia are organising the Loi Krathong
Festival in Malaysia. Loi means to float and
Krathong is a leaf cup normally made of banana leaf, which is
lotus-shaped. Usually the
Krathong has a small coin in it, besides a candle and incense sticks.
Nowadays most people buy a colourful krathong from a vendor.
During October and November all rivers and canals in the lowlands are
flooded and in some places overflow their banks. The rainy season
has ended and after the strenuous labour of ploughing and planting rice for
the previous three months from dawn to dusk the heavy work is now over for
the country folk. The peasants have only to wait a month to six weeks for
the harvest. During this idle interval they spend the time with many
feasts and festivals, among them the observance of the Loi Krathong
Locals make their own, but you can buy one
from one of the vendors who capitalize on the festival (also, magicians
set up stages and food vendors pull out the goods). Fill your krathong
with a candle, flowers, incense, and a coin. Sometimes, locals add a snip
of their hair or fingernails to the krathong (so that a part of their
bodies goes out to the goddess). Locals wear beautiful costumes, so stop
by a vendor and get one for yourself.
The night of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month (usually in
mid-November) is the time of Loi Krathong.
In the evening, when the full moon begins to rise, people carry
their Krathongs to the banks of waterways. After the candle and incense
sticks are lighted, the Krathong is pushed gently out onto the surface of
the placid water. A few folk will raise their hands in worship. Under the full moon, countless krathongs float on the rivers and lakes. They watch the Krathong as it floats sluggishly along until it is out of sight.
They believe that with the floating away of a krathong, the accident drifts away from them. The burning time of the candle and the distance covered by the krathong determine happiness for the future. The krathong is a sacrifice to Phra Mae Khongkha. Mae Khongkha is the holy mother of the water. They do this to honor her and to ask her for forgiveness for the sins they committed.
Mostly the Loi Kratong Festival is organised by a Siamese Association. It's celebrated in Perlis, Kedah and Penang and Kelantan.
The Siamese Association on Penang:
“This is the first time the Loy Krathong celebrations will be held at
the Reclining Buddha Temple, instead of Wat Buppharam in Perak Road as in
previous years. This is because of the large number of tourists who visit this temple, especially now, which is the school holidays.
A fair promoting Thai food would be held during the celebrations.
We are expecting about 4,000 people for the procession, which begins
at 10.30pm from the temple to Gurney Drive.
Devotees could buy krathong priced at RM15 and RM30 each at the temple, adding that there was only a limited supply of 500 krathong this year."