Celebrating numerous provincial and national holidays along with several global events, Thailand is a festive country with celebration forming a core part of its heritage and culture. It is always celebrating and amazing its visitors with its festive spirit that give a glimpse into the traditions and colorful nature of the country. So here’s a listing of the major Thai festivals from which you yourself can choose which one you want your vacation to coincide with…
Loy Krathong: Said to be one of the most beautiful festival of the Thai calendar, Loy Krathong is celebrated on the full moon of the twelfth month of Thai Lunar calendar, mostly falling during the end of October or beginning of November. In fact, over the years the festival has evolved from being just a good luck bringing festival to something more romantic along the lines of Valentine’s Day. Everywhere in the country, you will see young couples buying or making krathongs(small floats), adorn them with flowers and candles, and taking them down to the water to release them. The krathongs offer the festival a visually stunning look putting everyone participating in a friendly and cheerful mood. Make your vacation a truly memorable one by buying your own krathong and setting it afloat in the nearest Thai river.
Songkran: Considered to be Thailand’s most fun holiday, Songkran makes the Thais from all over the country come out of their houses and celebrate together with the community. Celebrated in mid April, the festival presents a country wide spectacle full of festive revelry and water fights. The festival started with a sprinkling of water over others to signify cleansing away of bad luck and show respect and good wishes for the person. However, nowadays the sprinkling has transformed into full fledged water fights on streets that last almost three days, which is good as the festival comes during the hottest month of the year. So, come and enjoy the playful nature of this festival on your vacation to the country.
Chinese New Year Festival: Thais celebrate New Year not once, not twice, but thrice a year. With high number of Chinese Thai people residing in the country, Chinese New Year is a big festival celebrated with much pomp and show. Also known as the Lunar new Year, the Chinese New Year is quite famous as the ‘Spring Festival’ as it also denotes the start of spring season. Lasting for three days, the festival celebrations involve lion dance performances that are a legendary for warding off the demons and bringing good luck throughout the coming year.
The Ghost Festival: Also known as the ‘Boon Pra Wate’ or ‘Phi Ta Khon’, the ghost festival is one of the biggest merit making ceremony of Dan Sai District that is located in the northeastern province of Loei. The festival is celebrated with participants dressing up as ghosts and monsters wearing huge masks made from coconut tree trunks. Though the origin of the festival is unclear, it is said to be originated from Buddhist folklore. In fact, it is also said that the festival was held to evoke the annual rains from heavens and bless the crops of the farmers. In this three day festival, there are contests, dances, and prayer sermons performed by local monks.
Magha Puja: Said to be an important Buddhist festival, this day is celebrated in Thailand with full vigor and festivity. Falling mostly in late February, the celebration involves people visiting temples, lighting candles and incense, offering flowers and praying to Lord Buddha for happiness and good luck. Later, the monk addresses the gathering with an enlightening sermon followed by a candle lit procession that is participated with great zeal. The procession is to pay homage to the teachings and disciples of Lord Buddha.
The King’s Birthday: The King is considered to be the heart and soul of Thailand. Commanding respect not only from his own subjects but from people from all over the world, the king is actually a living symbol of the nation. His birthday is observed as a National Holiday all over the country. Houses and buildings are decorated with lights and flags and religious rites are held for his long life. The whole nation comes together to pray to the Holy Triple gem to bless their king with good health, happiness and strength to carry on his task with equal dedication and affection.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival: Every year on the first weekend of February, The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is celebrated in Thailand. Named after Chiang Mai, also known as Rose of the North, that blooms only in February, this colorful festival brings about dash of color and beauty to all the flower beds in public spaces. One of the best parts of this festival is the flower festival parade that starts on Saturday morning. It is full of gaily decorated floats, beautiful girls, and exotic hill tribe people dancing in their traditional costumes. There is also a Chiang Mai Flower Festival Queen competition that takes place in late afternoon that adds more zing and cheer to the celebrations.