The spirit of the river
Loy Krathong festival is an event held all over Thailand to pay respect to the river spirits and the Goddess of water Phra Mae Khongkha. The payment is made by making a floating basket made of banana leaves, filled with traditional Thai dishes and decorated with flowers.
So, what significance does this festival have to our present environment, well it is actually refreshing to hear of a culture that still pays respect to the Gods of nature. A mythology where which to upset the spirits of the river would result in bad things happening to you and your family.
Many animals, including humans rely greatly on the supply of fresh clean water from the rivers around the world and if polluted or ruined. Could mean the loss of complete populations from those areas.
However, the tradition from generations past that used only naturally found items to decorate their Loy Krathong, now sees a change with the times. As many modern Loy Krathong’s are made from cheap synthetic decorative materials, like Styrofoam or polyester.
This use of unnatural materials results in the pollution of local waterways, and the endangerment of many aquatic animals. In 2016 Bnagkok Metropolitan Administration reported having to clean 6 tonnes of rubbish from the city’s waterways the day after Loy Krathong, recording that 7% of the Loy Krathongs made, were made using Styrofoam.
To combat this in 2018 the Thai authorities announced a ban in the use of Styrofoam in Loy Krathong floats, and this has resulted in a steady drop to 5.3% made from Styrofoam in 2018.
So, this year let’s make sure our blessing to the river god and spirits, is good and doesn’t harm them. Use these items as an alternative:
- Banana leaves
- Lilly leaves
- Native flowers
- Naturally made candles.
- Thai dishes made with locally found produce. (Examples banana, pineapple, or even papaya.)
Try to avoid upsetting the spirits by not using Styrofoam and any other man-made materials in your creation this year. And so, join us for this as we make this year’s Loy Krathong an environmentally friendly festival.