Thailand is famous for its unique and vibrant festivals, and most Thai festivities are rooted in the traditions and beliefs of the ancient Thai people. The Yi Peng festival is absolutely no exception, as it started with the ancient Lanna Kingdom (1292~1775).
Every year, a spectacular scene in the sky unfolds in Chiang Mai during the Yi Peng festival, and you can be sure that this festival will leave you breathless. If you want to know what to expect at Chiang Mai’s most beautiful festival, be sure to read on!
What is the Yi Peng Festival?
Northern Thailand (mostly in Chiang Mai)
When: The full moon day of the second month of the Lanna lunar calendar. Every year the exact date will change. This year, it will be celebrated on November 21~23, 2018.
Yi Peng is a sky lantern festival that mainly happens in Northern Thailand, and it coincides with the nationally celebrated Loy Krathong Festival. During the festival, thousands of rice paper lanterns are released into the air, decorating the sky with a warm glow.
How is Yi Peng different from Loi Krathong?
Yi Peng Festival
Many people often misunderstand that the Yi Peng festival and Loy Krathong are the same, as these events coincide with each other. In fact, the Yi Peng Festival is actually a smaller part of the Loy Krathong Celebrations.
Loy Krathong also only lasts for one night on the full moon of the 12th month of the traditional Thai calendar, while the Yi Peng festival is celebrated over 2~3 days.
In the Yi Peng Festival, lanterns locally known as Khom Fai or Khom Loy are lit and released up into the sky with the hopes of all misfortunes to disappear with the lantern. The act of releasing Khom Fai into the night sky is meaningful in Thai culture, as it symbolises letting go of bad luck. It is believed that if the lantern disappears from sight before your candle goes out, you’re definitely healed from the misfortune and will be free of any bad luck the next year!
Similarly, during the Loy Krathong celebrations, a krathong, which is a “boat” or “basket” made of banana tree trunk and wrapped in banana leaves are sent afloat a river or a body of water, with a similar meaning to wish away all the bad luck, grudges against others and worries so that one can start fresh. Hence the name of the celebration being Loy Krathong. In Thai, the word “Loy” means “to float” and “krathong” is a “basket”.
In ancient times, this festival was to pay respects to the Goddess of Water, Pra Mae Thorani. The krathongs would be decorated as much as possible with fancy decorations and flowers. It will always have a candle to venerate Buddha as well. People would often put strands of hair, nail and toenail clippings or strips of cloth from old clothes in the belief that grudges and bad luck will be washed away.
As you can see, the only difference between these two celebrations is the method of wishing away any bad luck in hopes to start a fresh life clean from sin.
Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated all throughout Thailand, but the festivities and beauty is at its best in Chiang Mai. So if you’re hanging around Chiang Mai during the time of the festival in November 22nd ~ 23rd, check out the festival tour we offer you at the Pink Nakorn Riverside Hotel!
Enjoy an unforgettable moment watching hundreds of lanterns illuminate the sky as they float up and also float your own krathong and wish all the bad luck away! After that enjoy a delicious Thai style buffet dinner!
Don’t miss your chance to take part in these wonderful festivals! for more detailed information:
Can I attend the Yi Peng festival as a tourist?
One of the main reasons people want to go to the Yi Peng festival is to launch their own lantern and snap a photo of the mass release of lanterns.
However, many don’t realise that the main Yi Peng event is exclusively for locals only around Mae Jo University. As a tourist, the ticket price would be around THB 5,600~12,500, which is about USD 170~380. Even if you are willing to pay that much money, it will be almost impossible to get the ticket for the Mae Jo event since lots of other people want to join as well.
But don’t worry, as there are some private Yi Peng events that tourists can attend as well, and they are a lot cheaper (USD 90~130) than the Mae Jo event.
They are basically the same event as the Mae Jo but on a smaller scale. It’s about half the size of the Mae Jo event. It is still a spectacular event and a good option for people who don’t want to pay a whopping USD 170~380 for a ticket.
At these private Yi Peng events, you can release your own lantern into the sky. The whole emphasis of Yi Peng Festivals are on lighting the lanterns and wishing for good luck, and of course you will also get to take tons of magical photos!
Tip: The Yi Peng Festival is the most popular event in Chiang Mai, thus it’s best to plan as early as possible.
It’s not just one place you can light your own lantern and wish it away. We offer you a package where you can enjoy the Yi Peng Festival in Wat Doi Ti, a miraculous Buddhist temple making for a perfect photo background in the night. If you want to both enjoy the festival and marvel at wat Doi temple, visit: https://bit.ly/2PjHC6R
You can also enjoy the other festivities that go on during the Yi Peng festival. It doesn’t end with a good luck wish and lighting your lantern into the sky. There are a variety of things for you to enjoy during the festival, so come to Chiang Mai and learn about the Lanna traditions. click here: https://bit.ly/2OOWudW
Let’s have a look at what else goes on during the Festival.
What else happens during the Yi Peng Festival?
Of course, the launching of the lanterns might be the most important part of the festival, but there are plenty of other activities going on to keep the festival lively, including traditional Thai worshipping rituals, lantern decoration contests, and the Miss Yi Peng pageant. There are also night bazaars, parades, and fireworks for visitors to enjoy.
You will be pleasantly surprised to find many vendors offering different types of Thai food at the event.
Visiting Chiang Mai and attending the Yi Peng Festival is truly one of things you should do when you are in Thailand during November. Join in the fun with locals and other travelers to wish all the bad luck goodbye on your very own lantern and check out the awesome stalls in the night markets to grab something delicious to eat. And of course, take lots of photos to cherish the memories of your trip to wonderful Chiang Mai.