Holidays in Thailand

January/FebruaryChinese New Year, depending on the lunar cycleThis isn’t an official holiday but is celebrated by Thai-Chinese for three days. The exact dates differ every year depending on the position of the moon.
FebruaryMakha Bucha, full moon dayThis is the third of the years’ Buddhist festivals, which includes merit making and candle processions at temples across the kingdom.
AprilChakri Day, 6thCommemorates the founding of the Chakri Dynasty, by Rama I in 1782.
Songkran, 13-15thOfficially running for three days, Thai New Year is a time to be with family, wash Buddha images and make merit. Nowadays it amounts to a 63 million person, nationwide waterfight. This festival is most popular in the northern provinces where it’s celebrated for up to a week.
MayCoronation Day, 5thMarks the crowning of King Bhumibol, Rama IX, the current king of Thailand, who has been on the throne since 1946, making him the longest reigning, living monarch in the world.
Royal Plowing Ceremony, depending on the lunar cycleThis takes place at Sanam Luang (Bangkok), opposite the Grand Palace and marks the beginning of the rice planting season.
Bun Bang Fai, second weekThis interesting festival in Yasothon province sees locals fire huge, homemade rockets into the air to encourage rain for the coming season. Combine drinking and merry-making and you’ve got all the ingredients for a huge party!
Visakha Bucha, full moon dayThis is the most important date on the Buddhist calendar. It celebrates the birth, Enlightenment and death of the Buddha. There are beautiful candlelit processions at temples nationwide.JunePhi Ta Khon Festival, mid/late monthThis wild festival takes place at the village of Dan Sai in Loei province. Masked players reenact the legend of Prince Vessandon, the Buddha’s penultimate incarnation. Plenty of colorful people, masks and lots of partying – hang on for the ride.
JulyAsanha Bucha, full moon dayThe second of the year’s major Buddhist festivals, commemorating the anniversary of the Lord Buddha’s first sermon to his five disciples.
Khao Phansa, full moon dayThis time marks the start of the three-month Buddhist Rains Retreat at which time monks stay at their temples to concentrate on study, meditation and young men usually ordain.
AugustHer Majesty the Queen’s Birthday, 12thThis is also Mother’s Day across the country.
SeptemberVegetarian Festival, late month or early OctoberCelebrated with fanfare at Phuket and Trang provinces with locals performing self-mortification rituals following abstinence from meat. Many Thais across the nation tend to eat vegetarian dishes during this special time.
OctoberChulalongkorn Day, 23rdCommemorates the death of Rama V, one of the most beloved Thai kings; credited with modernizing the country. He was also the first Thai king to make state visits to Europe.
Ok Phansa, full moon dayCelebrates the end of the Buddhist Rains Retreats with nationwide celebration of Lord Buddha’s reappearance on Earth after a season spent preaching in heaven.
NovemberElephant Roundup, third weekHeld at the province of Surin, this festival pays honor to the national animal, its role in society and is capped-off with displays of forestry skills and a mock battle. Expect 150 elephants in attendance.
Loy Krathong, full moon dayOne of the kingdom’s biggest and most beloved festivals. It honors the goddess of water Mae Khongkha and asks her for forgiveness for polluting her. Locals float ‘krathongs’ on waterways in the evening, making for a very beautiful spectacle.
DecemberTrooping of the Colors, 3rdThis very colorful event takes place at Royal Plaza, Bangkok, when Royal Guards parade past the King and Queen, pledging their allegiance.
His Majesty the King’s Birthday, 5thOne of the biggest days of the year on the calendar. Locals pay homage to His Majesty, erect large pictures of him across the country and show their deep love for their beloved monarch. This also serves as Father’s Day across the nation.

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