Thai Calendar

Thai Festivals and Holidays

Thai festivals and holidays are either on a fix date or the date changes every year. In this case we added the year. If a public holiday occurs on a weekend, there will be a substitution day the following Monday. This way some weekends are longer and very likely to be travel time for Thai people.

1 January (fix) New Year's Day
Since several decades, the westerner New Year's day is also a public holiday in Thailand. But the popular New Year's day for Thai people happens in April; it is called "SONGKRAN". The reference point is Lord Buddha's birth 543 before Jesus Christ

Thai children Day
During this day, feasts organized by children happen. Children are highly respected in Thailand. In a bus an adult often gives his seat to a child but not to an elderly person. This day always happens on the second saturday in January.

16 January Teachers Day
This day is an occasion for pupils to make merit for their teachers. Teachers are highly worshipped in Thailand for their knownledge. Pupils do not dare to embarrass their teachers.

25 January Thai Army Day
During this day, Thai King Rama IX visits the army and watches a military parad.

February Makabucha day
It came from the day when 1250 disciples from the Lord Buddha gathered to listen for the Dharma speech after Buddha's enlightment.

7 February 2008 Chinese New Year's Day
Chinese New year depends on the lunar calendar. It is on the second new moon day following Winter solstice, a day around December 22 in the nothern hemisphere. Chinese celebrate their lunar new year with one week house-cleaning, lion dances and fireworks. This is also the time to pay respect to the ancestors. We invite our volunteers to take part in the celebrations for our family.

21 February 2008 Makha Bucha Day / Magha Puja Day
This is in commemoration of a spontaneous gathering of 1,250 Sangha followers came to meet Lord Buddha 9 months after his first enlightenment. They were ordinated by Lord Buddha and enlightened. Celebrated with candle light processions three times clockwise around the temple, usually in the evening. It is also a day when many people give alms like instant or canned foods and necessities like robes, incense and candles to the monks. The date changes from year to year. It is always on full moon day of the 3rd lunar month, Makha.

No public holidays during this month.

6 April (fix) Chakri Memorial Day
Crowning day of King Rama I., March 20, 1737 - September 7, 1809, the first king of the Chakri dynasty. He moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok, retrieved Buddhist texts that were lost during the occupation of former capital Ayathaya by the Burmese, and wrote the Book of three seals, a new law codex.

This public holiday commemorates the Chakri dynasty. The current King is the ninth King of the Chakri dynasty. A Royal ceremony is performed by the King to pay respects to King Rama I the Great, the founder of the Chakri Dynasty.

13 April Therevadin Buddhist New Year
* 13 - 16 April (fix) Songkran Festival
Thais celebrate the lunar new year with a lot of water. Buddha statues are cleaned, you sprinkle water over the hands of monks and elders to show your respect - and everybody is having a lot of fun with tossing water around. If you attend don't expect to stay dry.

The "SONGKRAN" festival happens in the hot season in half of april. This festival happens in all Buddhist "THEREVADA" countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma. Songkran is the ancient New Year's Day. Now the official New Year's Day happens the 1st January. But the most popular feast is still "SONGKRAN".

1 May (fix) National Labour Day
The first day of May is a public holiday commemorating the workers.

5 May (fix) Coronation Day
King Bhumibol Adulyadej was crowned on 5 May 1950.

7 May Substitution for Coronation Day
Phi Ta Khon Festival. Men masqueraded as spirits parade a Buddha image and tease bystanders while monks recite the ancient Buddhist tale of Prince Vessandorn, one of Buddha's incarnations. His welcome back procession was grand enough to inspire the spirits to join the festvities.Celebrated in Loei.

9 May 2008 Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day
Royal ploughing is done every year by Brahmanic priests. This event happens in the front of the temple "WAT PHRA KAEW" on the big field called "SANAM LUANG".

This ceremony symbolises the beginning of the sowing period. Brahmin priests bless seeds and make symbolic furrows using a plough pulled by buffalos. Once the ceremony is over, all the watching people run to the furrows in order to get the blessed seeds. Those ones are supposed to bring good harvests. This is a public holiday.

19 May 2008 Visakha Bucha Day / Visakha Puja / Buddha Day
This day is a Buddhist public holiday. This day commemorates the birth, the enlightment and the death (entry into the nirvana) of Buddha. Temples through the country are crowded with people listening to sermons about Dharma (Buddha's teaching) and in the evening there is a candlelit procession around the main building of the temple containing the Buddha statues.

No public holidays during this month.
1 July 2007 Bank's Mid-Year Day

17 July 2008 Asarnha Bucha Day / Asalha Puja Day

Celebration to remind of the first sermon Lord Buddha gave to five disciples, introducing the middle way, the noble eight-fold path and the four noble truth. Celebrated with candle light processions.

18 July 2008 Buddhist Lent Day
This marks the beginning of the Buddhist rain retreat which last three months. During this period monks are not allowed to sleep outside their temple. If they have to stay outside it should be limited to maximum of three days. Thai people buy big candles and offer them to temples.

12 August (fix) H.M. The Queen's Birthday
This public holiday is the day of all the mothers of Thailand. Especially the Queen, the mother of all Thai people. On this day all the buildings of Thailand are covered up with images of H.M. The Queen. This day also doubles as Mothers Day.

No public holidays during this month.

14 October Ok Phansa & Thot Kathin
The End of Buddhist Lent - This day is the end of the Buddhist Lent that lasts three month every year (see also 22 July). Buddhists will make merit and offer food and other necessary goods to the monks. Time for the robe offering ceremonies ("thot kathin"). These ceremonies are performed during one month. Many activities originated on this day and have been passed on to the present generation such as the wax castle offering and illuminated boat procession to worship the Naga king.

14 October 2008 Naga Festival
Bang Fai Phaya Naga is said to be a natural phenomenon. Fireballs can be seen rising up from the Maekhong River on the night at the end of the Buddhist Lent. Many people come to Nongkhai every year, hotels are booked out a long time in advance, and traffic that evening is like Bangkok at rush hour. There is also a friendship boat race between Thailand and Laos during this time.

23 October (fix) Chulalongkorn Memorial Day
King Chulalongkorn or Rama V. is memorated for the modernisation of Thailand and thanks to his politics Thailand did not become a colony. This is a public holiday day to commemorate the Rama V or Chulalongkorn wise reign over Thailand. Thanks to him, Thailand did not become a French or English colony even if Thailand lost his leadership over Laos, Cambodia and the northern provinces of Malaysia. During his reign, Thailand became a modern country.

12 November 2008 Full moon night of the 12th lunar months Loy Kratong
Not an official holiday, but a festival you should not miss when in Thailand. People float little containers with a candle, joss sticks and a coin to thank the river goddess and get rid of their past years sins.

Loi Krathong is a religious event which happens every year on the full moon of the 12th lunar month (first full moon day of November). All Thai people buy or make a "KRATHONG". It is made of styrofoam surrounded by banana leaves, with flowers and a candle in the middle. Then in the evening, Thai people go to places where there is a river, a pound to launch their "KRATHONG".

5 December (fix) H.M. The King's Birthday
This public holiday is the day of all the fathers of Thailand. Especially the King Rama IX, the father of all Thai people. This day is the birthday of the current Thai King. All the buildings of Thailand are covered up with symbols of the monarchy and the King. Also doubles as Thai Fathers Day.

10 December (fix) Constitution day
1932 the absolute monarchy became constitutional and the first step towards democracy was gone in Thailand.

31 December (fix) New Year's Eve
People like to travel around these holidays. Transportation might be difficult if not arranged in advance.
Substitution means that those who can not celebrate the first date for business or other reasons, get the substitution day off. So better take all these dates into account.

Article Source : http://www.thaiworldview.com


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