Hope floats at Thai festival

Every year, on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, lakes, rivers, ponds and canals across Thailand turn into magical water bodies, twinkling with dancing candle-lit leaf bowls or flowers under the light of the full moon. In the Western calendar this usually happens in November.

It is Loy Krathong, or the festival of lights, traditionally a time for the Thais to mark the end of the rainy season and main rice harvest season, and thank the water goddess for another year of abundant supply. It is also a time to ask for forgiveness and to let go of anger, grudges and all things dark and negative.

To do this, Thais set adrift lanterns and float lotus-shaped trays containing flowers, candles and incense - sometimes even a fingernail or a lock of hair - on the water with a prayer to let all their bad luck of the past year float away. The hope is that their misfortunes will be replaced with good fortune in the year to come.

It is said that if your candle stays alight until your krathong floats out of sight, it is a sign of a good year ahead.

In this picture, people are floating krathongs on a lake in a park in Bangkok on Wednesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2015, with the headline 'Hope floats at Thai festival'. Subscribe