Odisha’s Boita Bandana Celebrated The Same Way In Thailand As Loy Krathong

Bhubaneswar: People across Odisha congregated near water bodies and set afloat the ritualistic miniature boats made of banana stem, paper and thermocol in the early hours of Monday and the night before, on the occasion of Kartika Purnima, commemorating the state’s past maritime glory.

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While Gadagadia Ghat of the Mahanadi river in Cuttack city saw a huge congregation, scenes were similar at Bindu Sagar near Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar. People light lamps in memory of the ancient traders called ‘Sadhavas’ who had established overseas trade links. Betel leaves, areca nuts and rice are also placed in these small boats.

Not known to many, Thailand has its version of Odisha’s Boita Bandana. India and Thailand share a common religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage and one facet of this sharing involves festivals celebrated there.

In Thailand, it is called Loy Krathong. People gather around water bodies and pray to the Water Goddess. They also set afloat beautiful rafts in the shape of lotus flowers.

The word ‘loi’ means to float. ‘Krathong’ is used to refer to a small container or basket usually made from the cellulose trunk of a banana tree, bread, or Styrofoam. These are decorated with candles, incense and flowers. The flickering light of the candles creates magic in the water.

Apart from being an apology for polluting the water bodies, the festival signifies the end of the harvest season and is a thanksgiving ritual for abundant supply throughout the year. There is also a belief that it signifies forgetting grudges and anger. If your candle remains lit until the Krathong (boat) disappears out of sight, all the luck is yours.

Loy Krathong also takes place on a full moon evening of the twelfth month, according to the Thai lunar calendar, and usually occurs in October or November according to the Western calendar. The exact date is usually announced a month in advance.

The word ‘loi’ means to float. ‘Krathong’ is used to refer to a small container or basket, which is decorated with banana leaves, flowers, incense sticks, and candles. The Krathong is usually made from the cellulose trunk of a banana tree, bread, or Styrofoam.

 

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