As Loy Krathong draws near, have you considered crafting your own Krathong? This festival traces its origins back to the 13th century Sukhothai kingdom in Thailand. Taking place on the night of the full moon in November, Loy Krathong involves the serene ritual of releasing adorned baskets, known as krathongs, onto rivers and waterways. This act serves as an offering to water spirits and symbolises the release of negativity from one's life. The festival is also a homage to the goddess of water, Phra Mae Khongkha.
Loy Krathong festival has evolved into a cultural celebration with activities, traditional dances, music performances and social gathering. While the essence lies in the act of releasing handmade vessels into rivers and lakes, the preparation of Krathongs is equally significant.
In recent years, communities and environmental organisations have actively promoted the use of sustainable materials in crafting Krathong. Traditionally, they were made using natural materials, banana leaves, flowers, and small pieces of banana trunk, but in more recent times foam and polystyrene have been used for the base. In response to an increasing environmental awareness, there's been a noticeable shift towards once again employing eco-friendly materials for these floating lanterns.
Begin with a base made from banana trunk or a biodegradable material, ensuring that the core of the Krathong is eco-friendly. This base provides the necessary buoyancy for the Krathong to float gracefully on the water. Next, weave together banana leaves or other biodegradable materials to form the body of the raft. This weaving process creates a visually appealing design and reinforces the structure of the Krathong.
As you progress, add natural decorations, flowers, folded banana leaves, or even small sticks to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the Krathong and maintain the traditional and cultural significance of the festival.
To illuminate the Krathong and symbolise the festival's theme of letting go of negativity, place a small candle at the centre. The soft glow represents the purification of the soul and the hope for a brighter future. Take a moment to reflect on personal wishes and intentions as you prepare to release the Krathong into the water.
Crafting a Krathong with sustainable materials aligns with the spirit of the festival and helps in minimising its ecological footprint. It’s a simple yet meaningful process. By opting for sustainable materials, participants contribute to the preservation of the environment and promote a more conscious celebration.