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Loy Khratong – Yee Peng ยี่เป็ง 2560

Early in November Chiang Mai will celebrate the festival of Loy Krathong, or Yee Peng ยี่เป็ง as it’s called in Northern Thailand. It’s Chiang mai’s second biggest festival after the Thai New Year festival of Song Kran in April, and lasts over several days. Yee Peng is a lunar festival and the main day is the full moon night of the twelfth Lunar month which this year falls on 3 November.

If you’ve not seen it before Loy Krathong is both a fun party and enchanting experience of the old Lanna Kingdom’s culture and tradition. Krathongs are set adrift on rivers and waterways all over Thailand. Make a blessing or say a prayer as you gently push your Krathong out into the water and all your bad luck floats away. The ritual also appeases the goddess of water.

It’s a beautiful sight to see hundreds of little lights bobbing peacefully along the river. Less peacefully, fireworks are let off in abundance in celebration and, In Chiang Mai Kom Loy lanterns, miniature hot air balloons traditionally made from Rice Paper are launched everywhere.

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

The centre of Yee Peng 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 well into the night. Fire works and fire crackers are still set off in abundance, though the authorities have cracked down in recent years. There was a time when Loy Khratong sounded liked the start of a war.

Other traditional celebrations include the Kratong parades with carnival floats accompanied by escorts in beautiful lanna costumes. Especially not to be missed for those who like the male form are some of the local college floats with handsome northern Thai students walking wearing nothing except Lanna style Sarongs.

Our friend Frank at asiancoop.com has lot’s of Loy Khratong picturs on his blog. Here are a couple of the boys in the parade to give you some idea. Click the pictures for more.

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

The full schedule of events can be found here: Yee Peng Schedule 2017

The main days of the festival are 2-4 November with full moon day, 3rd being the biggest. The parade and firework displays are scheduled on 4 November Large Kratong . The parade runs from Thapae gate down Thapae Road to the Municipality on the river. They usually start around 19:00 and take some time to progress. Many other events are held around Thapae Gate, Three Kings Monument, around the moat and along the river.

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