In the lively metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand, the enchanting Loy Krathong festival unfolded on the evenings of November 27 and 28, 2023, seamlessly blending tradition with innovation. This longstanding celebration, renowned for casting a warm glow upon the city’s canals and rivers through floating baskets known as ‘krathongs,’ witnessed a contemporary twist as children opted for virtual rafts over physical ones. Around 3,000 digital versions were intricately crafted by participants, who drew vibrant ‘krathongs,’ scanned their creations into computers, and gleefully observed their artwork projected onto the shimmering waters of the Ong Ang Canal.

The motive behind this digital transition was crystal clear: a response to the environmental challenges posed by the conventional festival. The aftermath of Loy Krathong typically resulted in a cumbersome cleanup, with canals burdened by discarded physical ‘krathongs.’ Eleven-year-old Jirayada Surapant eloquently highlighted the positive impact of the digital approach, emphasizing its role in reducing both tree cutting and waste. Acknowledged for its environmental mindfulness, the initiative drew attention, particularly from the younger generation. Despite the success of this digital move, the release of over 600,000 traditional floats into the waters the following day underscored the delicate balance between preserving cherished traditions and embracing innovative solutions for a sustainable future.