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Loy Krathong – Yeepeng Festival

Loy Krathong, or Yee Peng as it’s called in Northern Thailand is Chiang mai’s second biggest festival after the Thai New Year festival of Song Kran in April. Yeepeng lasts over several days and is a lunar festival with the main day falling on the full moon night of the twelfth Lunar month which this year falls on 28th November.

Loi Krathong is one of the most beautiful festivals of the year and a time to give thanks to the Goddess of Waters, seek forgiveness and float bad luck away. Loi means “to float” and Krathong are the small banana leaf floats containing candles, burning incense and flowers. The main tradition of the festival is to launch the Kratong down rivers and waterways to float away. Also popular in Chaing Mai are Khom Loi or fire lanterns which float upwards into the sky. Watching the sky fill with hundreds of Kom Loy all silently floating skywards and, in accordance with Thai beliefs, taking with them everyone’s bad luck is a magical part of Yeepeng. Down on the Ping River hundreds of little lights from Krathongs slowly drifting downstream makes a magnificent site.

Yee-Peng Logo

Far less peacefully, fireworks are let off in abundance in celebration and the constant explosions last well into the night for several days providing a constant noisey background.The centre of Loy Kratong activity in Chiang Mai is Narawat Bridge where Thai’s gather in large numbers to float their Kratongs down the river, launch Khom Loys and party. It can seem like a war scene with so many people launching fireworks, and throwing firecrackers though the authorities are clamping down more on anti-social behaviour than they did in the past.

Khom Loy LaunchFloating Khratongs
Launching a Khom Loy Fire Lantern and floating Kratongs on the Ping River during Yeepeng festival

Other attractions for Loi Krathong include:

  • The Krathong Parades
  • Lanna lantern displays all over town
  • Beauty contests
  • Fireworks displays

 

Event’s officially run from 25th-29th November with the nights of 27-29 being the main festival. These are preceded by the mass lantern launch near Mae Jo University, San Sai on 24th November. The official opening ceremony for Loy Khratong is on 25th November at Three Kings monument.

Yee Peng - Khom Loy
Khom Loy Launch at San Sai

The following are highlights from the program of events for Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival 2012:

25-29 Nov. 2012 Lantern Display at the different spot inside old Chiang Mai and City’s moat such as, Thapae Gate, Chang Puak Gate, Chiang Mai Gate, Suan Sok Gate, Sri Phum and Gu Huang Angle of City Moa, Three Kings Monument and the old district court (Phrapokklao Rd.).

27 Nov. 2012

– Child Contest for for Yee Peng Festival at Thapae Gate from 18.00-24.00
– Beauty Queen & Men’s Idol Contest for Yee Peng Festival at Thapae Gate from 18.00-24.00
– Lantern Display Parade and Contest along Thapae rd. to Chang Klan rd. from 19.00-22.00

28 Nov. 2012

– Krathong & Lantern Making Competition: Chiang Mai Municipality Office from 09.00-12.00
– Small Floating Krathong Parade and Contest, along Thapae rd. till in front of the Chiang Mai Municipality Office (at the bank of Mae Ping River), from 19.00-23.00.
– Krathong Sai Floating Show, the Mae Ping River in front of at the Chiang Mai Municipality Office, from 19.00-21.00.
– Fireworks Show for H.M. royal family, the Mea Ping River in front of at the Chiang Mai Municipality Office, from 20.00-24.00.

29 Nov. 2012

– Grand Krathong Parade and Contest, along Thapae rd. till in front of the Chiang Mai Municipality Office (at the bank of Mae Ping River), from 18.00-24.00.
– Krathong Sai Floating Show, the Mea Ping River in front of at the Chiang Mai Municipality Office, from 19.00-21.00.
– Fireworks Show for H.M. royal family, the Mea Ping River in front of at the Chiang Mai Municipality Office, from 20.00-24.00.

Gay Yeepeng

So what should us gay folks do to celebrate Yeepeng? As this festival is important to Thai’s most head down to the river and Thapae Gate areas of town including all our favorite guys. This is not a good time to be visiting bars and other gay attractions which are usually quiet or even closed during the festival. Restaurants are very popular, especially those near the river and downtown which will all be packed. Our best recommendations are to eat early in other parts of town then head off to see the parades and beauty contests. These are quite noteworthy for admirers of the male body with many handsome young Thai guys clad only in traditional sarongs.

Soho bar is having a Loy Khratong special on 28th November. If you are in town during next weekend remember also that Radchada Garden Café has it’s first anniversary party this Friday (23rd November), please come and join in the fun.

Loy Khratong boys in paradeBoys in Loykhratong parade
Handsome Thai guys clad only in lanna style costumes are a great attribute of the parades

Photos by our friend Frank at asiancoop.com who has posted some great photos of last year’s Loy Khratong parade on his blog – visit it to checkout the full slideshow.

  1. Urs says:

    Thanks very much for the comprehensive article about Loy Krathong – Yeepeng Festival.

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