Immersing in Isan Culture Through USAC Khon Kaen

If you’ve been reading up on what to experience during your study abroad in Thailand, you’ve likely come across the famous light festival. When you study abroad with USAC in Khon Kaen you’ll have the opportunity to immerse in the northeastern culture by participating in this unique celebration.

Loy Krathong Festival

Loy Krathong is a festival to celebrate the relationship between water and human life in Thailand. The purpose of the festival is to honor the Goddess of Water of “Phra Mae Kong Kha” and to carry on an old tradition. Most Brahmanism and Hindu worship is done to pay respect to the Goddess of Water and thank her for providing nourishment to her followers. This tradition is based on the environment and values of Isan (northeastern Thailand) people and culminates at the Loy Krathong festival. The festival is held annually on the full moon of November. In the evening of the full moon, people gather around and float their Krathong down lakes or rivers, not only to honor the Goddess but also to bring them good luck.

What is a Krathong?

The word “Loy” means float and “Krathong” is a basket that’s made from a banana tree trunk and is decorated with folded banana leaves, different kinds of flowers, joss stick, and a candle. It is common for Thai people to put their hair and nail clippings into the basket as a symbol of letting go of the unpleasant aspects of their personality and sending them down the river. To light a candle on Krathong is a way of honoring the Buddha and a symbolic way of releasing anger, bad things, and to begin new life.

At Khon Kaen University (KKU), you’ll have the opportunity to celebrate Loy Krathong during the Sithan KKU Festival. You’ll discover many activities to attend including alms offering to Buddhist monks, Isan’s way of life parade, a folk art show, creative walking street, and the Krathong float. The celebration is a combination of Isan folk style merging with modern art. Street vendors provide local foods and drinks.

Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand