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A Travel Guide to the Inspiring Yi Peng Lantern Festival

Sky lanterns in Yi Peng Floating Lantern Festival

The Yi Peng Festival is an annual celebration held throughout northern Thailand, but many tourists will flock to Chiang Mai to experience the event for themselves. It is also written as “Yee Peng Lantern Festival” or is often referred to as the “Festival of Light.”

The festival is when people release sky lanterns, or “Khom Loi/Khom Fai,” into the night sky. These lanterns are made of thin paper materials like rice paper with a bamboo structure. Within the sky lantern is a candle or fire starter; the heat generated gets trapped in the lantern, which lifts the lantern to the sky.

Below, we’ll go through what the Yi Peng Lantern Festival is and provide some handy advice on how you can enjoy this Thai celebration for yourself.

What is the Yi Peng Floating Lantern Festival?

Sky lanterns in Yi Peng Floating Lantern Festival
tawatchai1990 / Adobe Stock

This Thai lantern festival was originally a way to mark the end of the rainy season and to honor Buddha. Now, people carry on the tradition of filling the sky with mass lantern releases, and it’s become a popular festival in Chiang Mai to draw in tourists.

Many people today believe that in releasing the lanterns, they pay their respects to the Buddha. They believe their actions will bring good luck and happiness to their lives.

It’s believed that if your lantern disappears once the candle goes out, you’ve successfully released bad luck and will be graced with good fortune that year. However, if your lantern crashes with the candle still lit, you’re potentially in for some lousy luck.

Hanging lanterns in Chiang Mai
pomphotothailand / Adobe Stock

When is the Yi Peng Festival?

Lanterns in Yi Peng Festival, Thailand
tawatchai1990 / Adobe Stock

The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is a religious festival and a yearly event held on the evening of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month depicted in the Thai lunar calendar (usually November).

It’s worth getting to Chiang Mai a few days before the festival gets going, as it’s a very popular event, and the crowds will gather. You can buy a lantern in multiple spots around Chiang Mai, but getting there a little early means you have a greater chance of buying one before stock dries up.

See Related: How to Plan a Trip to Thailand and Build an Itinerary

How to Celebrate Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai

Sky filled with lanterns in Yee Peng Festival
stnazkul / Adobe Stock

While the spiritual significance of the festival is celebrated throughout northern Thailand, it’s one of the most popular Chiang Mai events for tourists. So, making your way to Chiang Mai to…

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