Yi Peng Lantern Festival – The Most Enchanting Celebration In Chiang Mai

Yi Peng Lantern Festival Chiang Mai

Imagine being surrounded by a sea of glowing paper lanterns, releasing into the night sky during a full moon. This magical experience can be yours at the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai’s center. We’ve got you covered with a guide to help you witness the beauty and wonder of this breathtaking ceremony. Get ready to be transported to a world of enchantment and awe.

What Is Yi Peng?

Yi Peng Lantern Festival

The Yi Peng Lantern Festival, also known as Yee Peng, originates from the Lanna culture of Northern Thailand. It is a religious event that takes place during the second full moon of the Lanna calendar month. People place different kinds of lanterns in front of their homes to show their devotion to Buddha. Sky lanterns are also used to worship the deities in the high heaven.

Date & Schedule Of Yi Peng Festival 2023

It takes place on the full moon night of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar (November in the Western calendar). Every year in November, the Yi Peng Festival is celebrated. The date is different each year. Yet it usually corresponds with the Loy Krathong Festival.

The Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival will be held on November 27th and 28th, 2023. 

As the Thai government no longer allows lantern release downtown, it is suggested that you attend a mass release event to catch the breathtaking scene of thousands of floating lanterns in the sky. The biggest event will be at the CAD (Chiang Mai Arts and Design) Centre. You can check out the ticket pricing here

The schedule for the mass lantern release event has been public by the CAD:

15:30 – Gather at the Meeting Point at Maya Shopping Mall (Fountain area) and get ready to be transferred to the enchanting venue.
16:30-18:30 – Upon arrival at the venue, display your e-ticket on your mobile device. Proceed to the main entrance to register your ticket and obtain a unique souvenir badge. Engage in captivating activities.
18:30-19:30 – Enjoy a delightful Lanna Thai Buffet dinner featuring a mouthwatering selection of authentic Thai cuisine, snacks, desserts, and refreshing non-alcoholic beverages.
19:30 – Move to the mesmerizing ritual area located in front of the majestic great pagoda.
19:40 – Witness an awe-inspiring drumming display, candlelight shows, religious ceremonies, and monks chanting.
20:15 – Experience the beautiful moment of releasing lanterns into the night sky, creating a stunning scene.
20:45 – Conclude the ceremony and return from the event to the meeting point at Maya Shopping Mall.

Aside from attending a mass event like at the CAD, there are other locations where you can enjoy the festival like a local.

  • The Nawarat Bridge on the Ping River – where most Chiang Mai residents go to release their krathong floating lanterns into the neighboring Ping River.
  • Three Kings Monument – where the majority of the activities take place. You can observe a candle-lighting ceremony as well as a Buddhist worship rite.
  • Thapae Gate – where many of the festival parades take place.

The Origin Of Yi Peng 

Thailand’s sky lantern tradition is rooted in the religious beliefs of the Lanna people. During the twelfth month’s full moon, it’s important for them to pay homage to Buddha relics, specifically Phra That Kaew Chulamanee, which is kept on the highest floor of heaven.

To accomplish this, the Lanna people use sky lanterns to pray to the heavens during the festival. The lanterns are lit and released into the night sky, creating a breathtaking display. This custom is famous among Thais and tourists due to the uniqueness of the Lantern Festival.

During the festival season, Lanna people still adorn their homes with lanterns and tiny candles (Phang Pratheep).

How Thai People Celebrate Yi Peng Festival

Thailand lantern festival

During Yi Peng, releasing lanterns, or khom loi, into the night sky is a common tradition.

However, it’s important to note that Chiang Mai hosts many other festivities during this holiday. These include worship ceremonies, decoration competitions, bazaars, parades, traditional Thai dance performances, the official ‘Yee Peng Parade’ which goes through the Old City gate and down Tha Phae Road, live music, and handcraft workshops. Various food vendors will also sell firecrackers and pyrotechnics to enhance the celebration.

Participating in mass lantern releases is a must-do for travelers who want to experience the most exciting events during their trip. The CAD Chiang Mai Art & Design Centre hosts the most popular release, offering visitors the ultimate lantern release experiences and cultural performances.

Moreover, khom fai, intricately designed paper lanterns available in various shapes and sizes, are used to decorate homes, gardens, and temples, making the experience even more special.

Tips To Experience Yi Peng Lantern Festival To The Fullest

Yi Peng Chiang Mai

Planning to attend the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Thailand this year? You must be aware that it’s an immensely popular event known for its breathtaking display of thousands of lanterns. However, such large crowds can be overwhelming, especially for first-time attendees. To guarantee an enjoyable experience, we strongly recommend following these helpful tips.

  • There is no need to buy lanterns early; many vendors will sell them on the street during the celebration.
  • The larger lanterns are easier to “launch”. You should not pay more than 50-100 baht per lantern.
  • The lantern’s paper is quite thin, so be careful not to tear it.
  • Some people choose to scribble a wish or a message on the lantern; you can ask the sellers for markers and write yours as well.
  • Dig your fingers into the wax circle coil to roughen it up. This will make it easier to fire the wax coil.
  • Hold the lantern taut between a group of people, with the coil at the bottom. It is pretty hard to launch a lantern on your own. If you’re traveling alone, this is an excellent chance to meet new people.
  • Before you let go of the lantern, remember to make a wish.
  • Wait until there is an appropriate amount of resistance before releasing the lantern.
  • Make a wish, light the incense, and send the lantern on its way!

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