The Chiang Mai branch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand office has confirmed the timetable of events for this week’s Loy Krathong Festival. Chiang Mai will celebrate the cultural highlight between the 2 and 4 of November. In what was once the historic northern Lanna region of modern Thailand the festival is also known as Yi Peng.
The Yi Peng Festival for 2017 will kick off at 18:00 on the second with a Lanna dance performance at the Three Kings’ Monument. The venue for the official opening ceremonies at 19:00 is across the road at the Lanna Folklife Museum. The museum is also the setting for Mr and Miss Yi Peng competitions on this night and the following one.
In the evening on the third, Chiang Mai residents and tourists will be heading down to the banks of the Ping River to float their homemade krathongs. These are small model boats fashioned from the trunks of banana trees and decorated with lighted candles, joss-sticks, flowers and folded leaves.
A highlight of the Loy Krathong-Yi Peng Festival is the krathong parade. This will begin at 19:00 on the 4 November. The parade starts at the Ping River’s Nawarat Bridge and heads up Thapae Road to Thapae Gate. It then crosses the Old City moat and continues to the Three Kings’ Statue and City Hall.
The parade is made up of floats adorned with cascades of flowers and typically crowned with a beauty queen sitting on a regal throne. Thais dressed in traditional clothes march with the parade. The parade is long and slow. The last float typically reaches the Three Kings’ Statue at around 23:00.
The launch of khom loy is the other key draw of Loy Krathong. Khom loy, or sky lanterns, are paper balloons stretched across bamboo or wire frames with a burner beneath. The burners are lit and, once the required buoyancy is attained, the khom loy float away into the night sky. The sight of hundreds of lit khom loy has been likened to a sea of translucent jellyfish.
As the khom loy have a slight risk of starting fires when they come down, and are also a danger to aircraft, Chiang Mai’s municipal council now sets specific times and locations for the launch of khom loy. In the city, Nawarat Bridge is the chosen venue. The dates are the 3 and 4 November and the times between 19:00 and 01:00 the following morning.
Chiang Mai enjoys rich traditions and culture. The numerous annual festivals staged in the city are a testament to this. The What’s Up Guide to Festivals in Chiang Mai has details about the other major events on the annual calendar.