Loy Krathong, Muay Thai to be proposed for UNESCO heritage list


The Loy Krathong festival, along with Muay Thai and Thai national costumes, are nearly ready to be proposed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to be included in the list of world’s intangible cultural heritage.

The preparation of data and registration documents of these three items are about 70% complete, said Kowit Phakamas, director-general of the Cultural Promotion Department on Friday.

The proposal is expected to receive Cabinet approval by March next year, he said, adding that UNESCO’s consideration process usually takes 3-5 years.

Loy Krathong is one of Thailand's most popular festivals, celebrated on the full moon of the 12th lunar month. It involves releasing “krathong” — lotus-shaped rafts decorated with candles, incense and flowers — onto lakes and rivers to honour the Buddha and the water goddess. Fireworks and traditional dance performances are also part of the celebration.

Loy Krathong, Muay Thai to be proposed for UNESCO heritage list

Kowit said the department has coordinated with the Institute of Thai Studies, Chulalongkorn University to collect information regarding Loy Krathong celebrations in eight key provinces. The photos and video footage to be presented to UNESCO will also include events of this year, which will be held on November 27-28 throughout Thailand.

“The remaining tasks before the documents could be ready for submission include selection of photos and videos via focus group, arranging of academic data, and translation in UNESCO’s required languages,” he said.

Thailand already has four items awaiting consideration for UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. The list will be announced on December 7 at a meeting in Botswana.

Four items that made it to the tentative list are the traditional Thai dance Khon, traditional Thai massage, folk dance drama Nora, and the Songkran festival, which had been submitted for consideration in 2020.