Travel guide with information about the Buddhist calendar, celebrations, processions, fairs, parades, parties
and national holidays in Thailand
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Because many Thai celebrations are of a Buddhist nature, they refer to the Buddhist religious calendar, which is dependant on the moon-cycle. Therefore certain celebrations vary within the month from year to year. The Buddhist calendar is 543 years older than the Christian, the year 2002 thus corresponds with the year 2545.
The western calendar however applies to national celebrations. If a legal holiday falls on a weekend, most offices remain closed on Monday and authorities are generally short staffed, a so-called Bank-Holiday is celebrated. Therefore there are about a dozen long weekends per year, which are often used for short trips to nearby beaches and islands in Thailand. In all temples in Thailand, there is at least one celebration per year, which is mainly attended by the natives.
Besides the main celebrations, in each province capital there is at least one fair, where local products and agricultural goods are offered. Also more and more celebrations are created by the Tourist-Authority, in order to promote regions for tourism. You will find exact information regarding religious celebrations and ceremonies in the brochure 'Major Events and Festivals', available at each tourist-information-centre, or in the Internet under www.tat.or.th/festival.

www.Ko-Chang.info lists the most important dates:


Transparent picture at www.Ko-Chang.info New-year

As abroad, New Year is also celebrated on 1st of January.


Chinese New-year

Takes place during black-moon between 21st January and 19th February. It lasts for 3 days, is celebrated with dragon-dances on the roads and usually used as a time to clean the house equivalent to our `spring-clean'. Also families go together on trips or short vacations.


Makha Bucha

At full moon in February, light-processions take place around the temples, in order to remind of Buddha's speech which took place in front of 1250 illuminated monks.


Chakri-Day

Celebrated in the Wat Phra Keo on 6th of April for the coronation-day of the first Chakri-King, the founder of the Royal-city Bangkok.


Songkran

Probably the most important and well-known celebration in Thailand, the Thai New Year, celebrated from 13th - 15th April. During the hottest time of the year, everywhere in the country people spray each other with water. If you are in the country at this time, do not expect to arrive dry at your destination, as there is no difference between Farangs (foreigner) and Thais. Everyone who has experienced this celebration once - the refreshing showers and the excited behaviour will remember it forever.


Labour-Day

1st of May


Coronation-Day

On May 5th the coronation of the current King, Rama IX, is celebrated, who was crowned on May 5th 1950.


Visakha Bucha

The holiest Buddhist celebration takes place on full moon day in May. For the celebration of the birth, the illumination, and Buddha's final occurring into the Nirvana, light-processions take place in the evening or the previous evening in all temples.


Asalha Bucha

Is celebrated with flowers and light processions in the temples on the full moon day in July to the memory of Buddha's first public speech. On the day after Asalha Bucha the 3-month-long fasting-time of the monks begins. In this time, the monks are under strict rules and are forbidden to leave their monastery at night. Also traditionally, in this time, most young men go into the monastery.


Birthday of the Queen

On August 12th the birthday of the Queen Sirikit is celebrated, who has been first lady of Thailand since 1950.


Chulalongkorn-Day

Takes place on October 23rd, which is the day of the death of King Rama V (Chulalongkorn), the ruler who opened Thailand to western influences.


Loy Krathong

On full moon day in November, the end of rainy-season is celebrated. Small boats, traditionally made from cut banana-leaves decorated with candles, incense and flowers, are sacrificed to the goddess of water. These can be seen on lakes, rivers and channels throughout the entire country.


King's birthday

The national holiday, the birthday of King Bumiphol, is celebrated on December 5th. Celebrations and parades take place everywhere.


Constitution-Day

Takes place on December 10th.


New-Years-Eve

As abroad, is celebrated on December 31st with celebrations and parties all over.



Local festivals & ceremonies

In Trat, on March 23rd, the Memorial Day, in remembrance of the exchange of the province with France takes place. At the end of May/beginning of June, the Rakam fair, the celebration of the Rakam fruits, takes place with a procession and fair.
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In the Salak-Phet-Bay on Ko Chang, on January 17th , the commemoration of the battle between French and Thai warships takes place.
(More information under 'Sights', 'Sea-Battle-Wrecks')
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