THAILAND Loy Krathong is held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November.
"Loy" means "to float". "Krathong" is a raft about a handspan in diameter traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk (although modern-day versions use specially made bread 'flowers' and may use styrofoam), decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, incense sticks etc.
During the night of the full moon, many people will release each of these krathongs in a river, set alight with a candle, in honour of Buddha.
Apart from venerating the Buddha with light (the candle on the raft), the act of floating away the candle raft is symbolic of letting go of all one's grudges, anger and defilements, so that one can start life afresh on a better foot. People will also cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the raft as a symbol of letting go of the bad parts of oneself. Many Thai believe that floating a krathong will create good luck, and they do it to honor and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha.
Loy Krathong coincides with the Lanna (northern Thai) festival known as "Yi Peng", which, due to a difference between the old Lanna calendar and the Thai calendar, is held on a full moon of the 2nd month of the Lanna calendar. A multitude of Lanna-style sky lanterns (khom fai or khom loi) are launched into the air. These are believed to help rid the locals of troubles and are also taken to decorate houses and streets.