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When is the lantern festival in Chiang Mai?

Article by Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah

Posted: April 8, 2023

When planning a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand, one of the most exciting events to experience is the Lantern Festival. The festival is a celebration of lights and has significant cultural and religious significance. However, it can be challenging to know when the festival takes place, as the dates change each year. In this article, we will explore the history and significance of the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai and give you the dates for the upcoming years.

History of the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai

The Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, also known as Yi Peng, has its roots in the ancient Lanna Kingdom. The festival originated as a way for Buddhists to honour the Buddha by releasing floating lanterns into the sky. The lanterns were also used to ward off evil spirits and to ask for good luck and prosperity.

Over the years, the festival has become more of a social event, with families and friends gathering to release lanterns together. However, the festival still has religious significance, and many temples in the city hold ceremonies to commemorate the event.

Significance of the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai

The Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai has multiple layers of significance. Firstly, it is a way for the people of Chiang Mai to celebrate their culture and traditions. Secondly, the festival has a strong religious significance, as it is a way to pay homage to the Buddha and to ask for blessings. Finally, the festival has economic significance, as it attracts thousands of tourists to the city each year.

When is the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai?

The Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai takes place on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, which usually falls in November. However, the exact date of the festival changes each year, as it is determined by the lunar calendar. It is essential to know the exact dates of the festival before planning a trip to Chiang Mai, as hotels and flights can fill up quickly.

Here are the dates for the upcoming years:

  • 2023: November 4th
  • 2024: November 22nd
  • 2025: November 12th

How to Celebrate the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai

The Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai is a truly magical event, and there are many ways to celebrate. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Releasing a lantern into the sky: This is the most iconic part of the festival, and it’s a beautiful sight to see thousands of lanterns floating into the sky at once. Many people write wishes or prayers on their lanterns before releasing them.
  • Joining a temple ceremony: Many temples in Chiang Mai hold ceremonies to mark the festival, and these can be a great way to experience the religious significance of the event.
  • Watching the parade: On the night of the festival, there is a parade through the streets of Chiang Mai, featuring traditional dancers and musicians. It’s a fun way to soak up the festival atmosphere.
  • Trying the local food: Chiang Mai has some of the best food in Thailand, and the Lantern Festival is an excellent opportunity to try some traditional dishes, such as khao soi (curry noodles) and sai ua (spicy sausage).

It’s essential to celebrate the festival safely and responsibly. Remember to follow the instructions of the lantern vendors and never release a lantern near buildings or power lines.

If you want to take your experience of the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai to the next level, why not consider volunteering with GVI? GVI offers a variety of programs that allow you to get involved with local communities and make a real difference. By volunteering during the Lantern Festival, you will have the opportunity to experience the event in a unique and meaningful way. Not only will you get to release lanterns into the sky and watch the parade, but you will also have the chance to work alongside locals and learn about their culture and way of life. It’s a fantastic way to give back while experiencing one of the most beautiful festivals in the world.

Ready to experience the magic of the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai? Make sure to mark the dates on your calendar and start planning your trip!

By Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah is a freelance writer from New Zealand with a passion for outdoor adventure and sustainable travel. She has been writing about travel for more than five years and her work has appeared in print and digital publications including National Geographic Travel, Conde Nast Travel, Business Insider, Atlas Obscura and more. You can see more of her work at petrinadarrah.com.
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