THAILAND FESTIVAL CALENDAR - MAJOR EVENTS IN THAILAND

Thailand Festival Calendar, Major Events in Thailand

Most of Thailand's annual events, especially religious holidays, are determined by the lunar calendar. Therefore it is not possible to provide exact dates for each event well in advance.

Most shops remain open during public holidays, although some small retail shops close over Chinese New Year. Many provincial festivals are held to mark the harvest of the local seasonal fruit.


January


New Year's Eve and Day

Are official holidays. In Bangkok, all the leading hotels stage some sort of festivity or party along the western concept of greeting the new year with lots of noise and merriment.


February


Flower Festival, Chiang Mai

When all varieties of flowers are in full bloom, residents of this northern city celebrate with a parade of beautifully decorated floats, flower displays, handicraft sales, and beauty contests. Phra Buddhabat Festival Buddhists make merit at the Shrine of the Holy Footprint near Saraburi.


April


Chakri Day

Commemorates the founding of the Chakri Dynasty of which the current monarch is the ninth King.


Songkran Festival

Is the traditional Thai New Year. This is the time for Thais to pay homage to Buddha images, clean their houses, and sprinkle water on their elders in a show of respect.

Anyone who ventures out on the streets is likely to get a thorough dousing of water, all in good fun, but also quite welcome at the peak of the season. Chiang Mai is famous for its Songkran parades and beauty contests, while in Bangkok the venerated Phra Buddha Sihing image is ritually bathed at Sanam Luang. The Mons of Phra Pradaeng and the people in Pattaya celebrate Songkram a week later.


Pattaya Festival

Thailand's renowned seaside resort puts on its most festive face for this annual event, held at the height of the summer season.

Food and floral floats, beauty contests, stalls selling local delicacies, and a spectacular display of fireworks on the beach are some of the highlights.


May


Royal Ploughing Ceremony

This is an ancient Brahmin festival to mark the beginning of the rice planting season, and is believed to forecast the abundance of the next rice crop.

Colourful costumes are worn by the participants during the ceremony which takes place at Sanam Luang, Bangkok.


The Rocket Festival, Yasothon

The Rocket Festival is a rainmaking festival in northeastern province of Yasothon where villagers compete with each other to construct gigantic rockets to fire into the sky.


June


Phi Ta Khon Festival

Is another rain making festival held in Loei, where people don masks and costumes to look like ghosts.


July


Candle Festival, Ubon Ratchathani

The commencement of the Buddhist Rains Retreat, known in Thai as Khao Phansa, is observed in the northeastern city of Ubon Ratchathani with this lovely festival that displays artistic skills as well as piety.

Beautifully carved beeswax candles, some of them several metres tall, are exhibited in colourful parades, before being presented to local temples.


Asalaha Puja Day

Commemorates the Buddha's first sermon, and marks the beginning of Buddhist Rains retreat (Khao Pansa), a period of three months during which monks must remain in their temples and strictly observe their religious duties. It is also the time that most young Thai men choose to enter the monkhood.


August


Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen

The city is decorated with lights and portraits of Her Majesty the Queen. It is also the day Mother's Day is celebrated in Thailand. This is a public holiday.


September


Phichit Boat Races

Phichit is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Thailand, with green valleys and picturesque wooded hills. This annual rowing regatta takes place on the Nan River, which runs through the provincial capital, and features numerous low slung wooden boats raced with great gusto to the cheers of spectators.


October


Ok Pansa

Marks the end of the Buddhist Rains Retreat, and is observed by the Kathin season, when people make merit by presenting robes and other utility items to monks at various temples.


Chulalongkorn Day

Commemorates the death of King Rama V. Wreaths are laid at the Equestrian Statue at the Royal Plaza to pay homage to his memory.


Vegetarian Festival, Phuket

This ancient Chinese festival lasts 10 days, and is highlighted by rituals during which believers move as if in a trance, mutilate their bodies with no bleeding or apparent scars.


November


Loy Krathong

This is one of the most beautiful festivals in Thailand. To pay homage to the river spirits, people float "krathongs" made of banana leaves and flowers in rivers and canals.

Of particular interest are the celebrations at the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre near Ayutthaya, and amid the ruins of Sukhothai, the first Thai capital where the festival was supposed to have originated.


Elephant Roundup, Surin

This festival brings crowds of visitors to this northeastern town, where they can watch these gentle giants in action, performing tugs of war, demonstrations of logging skills, and ancient warfare parades.


River Kwai Bridge Week, Kanchanaburi

Celebrated in the movie of the same name, the bridge on the River Kwai is the setting for this week-long festival which features a light and sound performance on the bridge, archaeological and historical exhibitions, and rides on vintage trains.


December


Trooping of the Colours

This event is a colourful pageant when contingents of the armed forces parade in full dress uniform at the Royal Plaza to confirm their allegiance to the King and country.


Birthday of His Majesty the King

Cities and towns are decorated with flags, lights and portraits of His Majesty the King. This is a public holiday for the whole nation.


Phuket King's Cup Regatta, Phuket

This is one of the region's leading regattas, sailed in the blue waters of the Andaman Sea off the island of Phuket. Competitors come from many nations to take part in this annual event.


Ayutthaya World Heritage Site

The ancient Siamese capital of Ayutthaya was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991. Ayutthaya celebrates its glorious past with historical exhibitions, traditional cultural processions and performances, light and sound presentations around city ruins, along with numerous forms of entertainment.


Chiang Mai Food Festival

An annual festival of Chiang Mai's great cuisine, demonstrations of fruit carving and ancient Thai desserts, and beautiful Lanna cultural shows. Good food is sold at low prices at the Tha Pae Gate.

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