Saturday, August 7, 2010

Best time to Join a Celebration in Thailand


The Thais are world renowned for their love of fun and so whenever you visit Thailand you will always be in time for a feast, festival, fair or full moon party.  As a nation famous for its friendly people, the Thais love to share their rich ethnic and cultural traditions with travelers. Many of the festivals are beautifully symbolic and fascinating to watch, they not only give you a real appreciation of Thai culture, but you will also have a lot of fun.

Wherever you are in Thailand, there has never been a better excuse to celebrate! Because many of the religious festivals and Royal ceremonies are based around the lunar calendar the dates tend to vary from year to year, but the exact festival dates will be available through the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), check out: http://www.tourismthailand.org/ for more information.

As you scroll down below you will see that there are fun things to do in Thailand every month of the year!

January Celebrations

New Year's Day - just like the majority of the world, Thailand celebrates New Year's Day with a public holiday on January 1st (they also celebrate Chinese New Year and the old Thai New Year (Song Krahn)). New Year's Day is a time for family and Thais will traditionally exchange gifts at this time.

The Umbrella Festival - one of the most popular festivals in Chiang Mai Province is celebrated at Borsarng (Bo Sang) Village which is renowned for its exquisitely beautiful handmade and hand-painted paper umbrellas. Held annually in mid January, the festival features processions of floats decorated with painted umbrellas, displays of traditional Lanna costumes, contests, exhibitions, sales of handicrafts, and the Miss Bo Sang beauty pageant.

February  Celebrations


Chinese New Year - celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar (usually in February), the Chinese New Year marks the start of the Chinese calendar. The local Chinese Thai community will gather together to worship at one of the Chinese Buddhist temples and there will also be many public celebrations with colorful dragon processions, dancing lions, acrobats, local Chinese cultural performances, Chinese opera and firecrackers.

March Celebrations

Makha Bucha Day - held every year at the end of February/beginning of March, depending upon the moon, Makha Bucha Day commemorates the occasion when 1,250 of his disciples spontaneously gathered to hear the Lord Buddha preach. On this national holiday Buddhists will visit their local wat (temple) and 'make merit' by releasing captive birds and fish. In the evening the celebrations will culminate in a candle lit procession around the main temple building.

April  Celebrations

Chakri Day - the public holiday on the 6th of April commemorates the establishment of the Thai Royal House of Chakri and the founding of Bangkok as the Capital city in 1782. As the present King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the ninth ruler of the Chakri dynasty the Thai people will pay tribute by lavishly decorating portraits of the King and Queen with lights and flowers.


Songkhran - occurring at the hottest time of the year (usually from the 13th to the 15th of April), Song Krahn is the traditional celebration of the old Thai New Year. The three day public holiday begins with Thai Buddhists visiting their local temple to perform the ceremony of Rod Nam Dam Nua, where they sprinkle water on the Buddha images and on the hands of the monks as a good deed and to express confidence that the water supply will be adequate to last throughout the dry season.

In the streets, exuberant merrymakers will throw water at each other, and at you, by the bucket full. To add to the fun, talc is mixed with the water and may be daubed on your face. Songkran is the biggest and wettest party of the Thai year. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor there will be no escape, during Songkran you will get wet!

May Celebrations

Coronation Day - the public holiday held annually on May 5th marks the anniversary of the coronation of the longest-living ruling monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) who was officially crowned King of Thailand in 1950.

Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival - traditionally held in Phya Thaen Park in the north-eastern province of Yasothon in the second week of May every year, the Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival is famous all over Thailand. Legend has it that there was once a rain god named Vassakan who loved to be worshipped with fire and so the locals send rockets into the sky in an attempt to persuade the gods into making it rain and so protect the next harvest. The festival includes parades, dancing, live music, plenty of food and lots and lots of loud bangs!

June Celebrations

With no official festivals scheduled in June, why not invent your own reason to celebrate? It's also a great time to go shopping, as the end of season sales begin on June 1st and last throughout the month. :)

July Thailand Celebrations

Asalaha Bucha Day - this Buddhist observance commemorating the Buddha's first sermon and marking the day before Khao Pansa (Buddhist Lent) is held around the full moon of the eight lunar month (usually in July).

Candle Festival - coinciding with Asalaha Bucha, the Candle Festival in Ubon Ratchathani sees the streets filled with processions of huge, beautifully carved, colorful beeswax candles (some of them several meters tall) and many impressive wax sculptures.

Khao Pansa Day - Khao Phansa Day falls on the first day after the full moon of the eighth lunar month (usually in July) and marks the beginning of the three-month Buddhist 'lent' period. During this time the monks will not travel, their religious duties will be strictly observed, and the novice monks will receive their training in the teachings of the Buddha.

Visakha Bucha Day - celebrated on the full moon of the sixth lunar month (usually in May), this public holiday commemorates the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha, and it is therefore the most sacred day on the Buddhist calendar.

Royal Ploughing Ceremony - every year around the beginning of May (the actually date being astrologically determined and announced by the Royal House), the Royal Ploughing Ceremony is held as a blessing to all Thailand's farmers. Held at Sanam Luang in Bangkok and presided over by the King and Queen, this ancient Brahmin festival marks the beginning of the rice-planting season. During the ceremony the white oxen that pull the plough are offered bowls of rice, beans, maize, sesame, water and alcohol to eat, and which ever bowl is selected by the oxen predicts whether that crop will flourish during the coming season.

August Celebrations

Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday - Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's birthday on August 12th is a public holiday, celebrated throughout the nation as Mother's Day. Tributes are paid to Her Majesty from all over Thailand and in Her Majesty's honor donations are made to the many charitable organizations that are patronized by the Queen.

September Celebrations

Phuket Vegetarian Festival - A colorful event held over a nine day period in late September/early October, which celebrates the local Chinese community's belief that adhering to a strict vegetarian diet during the ninth month of the Chinese calendar will help them purify their body and mind.

Some of the most exciting elements of the festival (and perhaps the most gruesome) are the ceremonies which are held to invoke the gods. Participants perform sacred rituals known as "Ma Song", which include displays of fire walking, extreme body piercing, ascending ladders with bladed rungs and other acts of self mortification.

October Celebrations

Chulalongkorn Day - the public holiday on October 23rd marks the death of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who reigned between 1868 and 1910. Known as The Royal Buddha or The Great Beloved King, King Chulalongkorn is considered one of the greatest kings of Siam, responsible for a number of governmental and social reforms that helped to transform Thailand from a traditional kingdom into a modern nation.

November Celebrations

Loi Krathong - (the floating festival of light) is a traditional Buddhist celebration in which the Thais pay tribute to the life sustaining effects of water by offering krathongs (handmade floating flowers filled with candles and incense) to the rivers and lakes of Thailand. On the evening of Loi Krathong (which is held on the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai calendar - normally in November) families will gather at the waters edge to make a wish and to float the krathong on the surface of the water. The celebrations also include plenty of fireworks and paper lanterns to make this one of the most enchanting of the Thai festivals.

December Celebrations


His Majesty the King of Thailand's Birthday - the King of Thailand is revered by all Thais and so on December the 5th every year, people from all over the country join together to celebrate the occasion of His Majesty the King's birthday. One of the best places to celebrate this public holiday is in Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Sanam Luang is a large park and every year hundreds of people gather to sing songs, listen to live music, eat great food, give alms and join in a candle light ceremony to wish the King a happy birthday. The King's birthday is also Father's Day in Thailand.

Constitution Day - the public holiday on the 10th of December marks the day in 1932, when the monarchy became constitutional and democracy began in Thailand.

Christmas - for the Thais, December 25th is not a public holiday and so school and work life will continue on as normal, however you won't miss out on the Yuletide festivities if you spend Christmas in Thailand, as all over country there will be events and spectacles organized to help you celebrate Christmas in style.

New Year's Eve - this public holiday is a time for family in Thailand when traditionally people will return home. Thai Buddhists will visit their local temples to do good deeds and offer donations; however there will be plenty of New Year parties to get involved in with ample fireworks to ensure your New Year starts off with a bang.

For a great look at Thailand weather and how it might affect your trip click here...

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