Public holidays in Thailand
In Thailand there are many public holidays, religious ceremonies and festivals throughout the year, so when an event ends another is already at the door. Since 1957, Thailand officially observed sixteen annual public holidays. With the passing of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the list of annual public holidays for 2017 has been revised by the cabinet. New public holidays for 2017 are: 28 July (King Maha Vajiralongkorn's Birthday) and 13 October (Anniversary for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej).
New Year's Day
New Year's Day, also called simply New Year's or New Year, takes place on January 1. As all over the world, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian Calendar is observed in Thailand, where it is also a public holiday. This event is celebrated with fireworks and firecrackers at the stroke of midnight as the New Year starts and releasing into the sky many floating lanterns, as it is typical of Lanna's tradition. Known as Khom Loy or Khom Fai, they are released into the sky to mark special occasions as it is believed the lanterns carry away troubles and bad luck. In Thailand's most popular tourist areas, the event is a good opportunity for businesses to raise prices. Often, if not booked well in advance, it's hard to find a table at restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as a room in hotel or other accommodation.More... »
Known as "Wan Dek" in Thailand, the Children's Day is celebrated on the second Saturday in January. As the name suggest, this event is celebrated to give children the opportunity to have fun and to become aware of their significant role in the country's development. Many Government offices are open to children and their family, local authorities organise special events and other places of interests usually let children in for half price or even for free on this day.More... »
Known as "Wan Khru" in Thailand, the Teacher's Day takes place every year on January 16th. Celebrated since 1957, it's the day in which students pay respect and homage to their teachers in order to express gratitude for their work as educators. On this day all schools through Thailand are closed. The highlights of the day include religious religious ceremonies and activities to promote greater cohesion between students and teachers. The work of educators is often difficult in Thailand, with students of different cultures and religions. A job for which teachers sometimes risk their lives, as Pandamoon Juling the courageous teacher, native of Chiang Rai, which was taken in hostage and horribly tortured in 2007, by some brutal inhabitants of Narathiwat, southern Thailand, where she was educator at an elementary school. She died on January 8, 2008, after eight months in a coma, at the age of twenty-four. Her funeral took place in January 16, in conjunction with the Teacher's Day.More... »
Celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month, the Makha Bucha, or Māgha Pūjā, is an important Buddhist festival in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. The Buddhist calendar is a lunar one, and the third lunar month is known in the Thai as Makha, from the Pali word Māgha; Bucha is also a Thai word that derives from the Pali word Pūjā, meaning “to venerate” or “to honor”. As such, Makha Bucha Day is to honor the Buddha and his teachings which he delivered on the full moon day of the third lunar month.More... »
Called "Wan Valentine" in Thai, the Valentine's Day in Thailand is celebrated on February 14th as it is all over the world. Thais celebrated Valentine's throughout the day in a wide variety of ways, but getting married, or trying to do it, seemed be the main focus of attention. As example, Bang Rak district, the traditional district of love in Bangkok, is the early focal point on the Valentine's Day for many Thai couples in love, as they line up at the district office well before it opens to enter and obtain a gold wedding certificate. As result, the district office must formalize the marriages of about 1,000 couples before the end of the Valentine's Day each year. If you’re fortunate enough to be in Thailand for Valentine’s Day, it’s easy enough to spot the signs all around that love is in the air. Teenagers on motorbikes carry oversized plush pets, flower markets do exaggerated trade, restaurants host special promotions and various venues are decorated with red hearts.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, also known as the "Spring Festival", is celebrated at the turn of the traditional Chinese calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar. The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar which reckons years, months and days according to astronomical phenomena. As many know, every year is represented by a zodiac animal sign. While the present is the "Year of the Rooster", the next 2018 will be the "Year of the Dog" and will be officially celebrated on Friday, February 16th. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. Even though it isn't a public holiday in Thailand, as more than 14% of the population refer to themselves as Thai-Chinese, the Spring Festival is celebrated all over the country. Everywhere there is a Chinese community, all the streets, the windows and doors of houses and shops are decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity". Other activities include lighting firecrackers, fireworks, and costume parades sprinkled with perfume and incense, as well as giving money in red paper envelopes.More... »
Princess Sirindhorn's Birthday
On 2 April every year, the people of Thailand celebrate the birthday of the beloved Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Her Royal Highness is much respected and loved by her people, having devoted her life to public service since young. She has supported hundreds of development projects in health care, education, agriculture and arts to improve the quality of life for Thai people.
Officially known as "King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke the Great Day and Chakri Dynasty Memorial Day", the Chakri Day commemorates the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty by Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, Rama I, in 1782. It is officially celebrated on 6 April. If 6 April falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be taken as a substitute holiday.More... »
The Songkran Festival celebrates the beginning of the Thai New Year. It’s a traditional Buddhist festival and national holiday in Thailand. The Thai New Year's Day is 13 April every year, but the holiday period also includes the 14th and 15th of April, though in Pattaya and the North-East provinces, i.e. Isan, the festival lasts a week or even more. Also known as the Water Festival, Songkran is well known for the unleashed water wars which are mostly celebrated by young people. In the big cities, like Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket, the major streets are closed to traffic, and are used as arenas for this water fights. Celebrants, young and old, participate in this tradition by splashing water on each other with buckets, water guns, balloons and any other vessels they can get their hands on. Nobody is spared, those who cross on foot or scooters, whether they are locals or tourists, whether they want it or not, are all splashed with cold water. Traditional parades are held in all major cities and in some venues "Miss Songkran" is crowned, where contestants are clothed in traditional Thai dress.More... »
Labor Day in Thailand is celebrated on 1st May each year, unless the day falls on a weekend day then the holiday is observed on the following Monday. Also known as May Day, this Thai public holiday celebrates the workers movement as well as the changing season from Winter to Spring. Usually Thais will spend the day relaxing with family and friends. Some will attend a union or workers parade event to celebrate the advancement of workers rights.
Visakha Bucha Day, also known as Buddha Purnima, is probably the most important Buddhist holiday in Thailand throughout the year, as in many other Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Sometimes informally called "Buddha's Birthday", it commemorates the three major events in the life of Gautama Buddha in the Theravāda Buddhism tradition: his birth, his enlightenment (Buddhahood), and his death (Parinirvāna). The date isn’t fixed because it depends on the Asian lunisolar calendars, so changes from country to country, but is mainly celebrated in Vaiśākha's month of Buddhist calendar and Hindu calendar, hence the name Vesak. In Thailand, it's celebrated on the full-moon day of the sixth lunar month, which usually falls between mid-May and early June. In 2018, Visakha Bucha Day will be officially celebrated on Tuesday 29 May, while in 2019 it will fall on Saturday 18 May. In Thailand, Visakha Bucha Day is the time when the devout Buddhists will go to local temples to “make merit,” by giving donations and flowers as well as meditate and listen to sermons. In the evenings there is a candle light procession with followers walking three times around the temple representing the triple jewel of Buddhism, one the Buddha, two his teachings, three the monkhood. Because it’s such an important Buddhist day in Thailand, the law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages on Visakha Bucha Day, which means that some bars and clubs close for the day.
Asahna Bucha Day
Asahna Bucha Day, also known as Asalha Puja or Dhamma Day, is one of Theravada Buddhism’s most important festivals. It celebrates the day when the Lord Gautama Buddha delivered the first sermon, after his enlightenment, at Benares in India over 2,500 years ago. This first sermon, often referred to as “setting into motion the wheel of dhamma,” is the teaching that is encapsulated for Buddhists in the the “Four Noble Truths”. These four noble truths are: there is suffering (dukkha); suffering is caused by craving (tanha); there is a state (nibbana) beyond suffering and craving; and the way to nirvana is via the eight-fold path. In Thailand, the Asahna Bucha Day vary from year to year and falls during the first full moon of the eighth month of the Thai lunar calendar, usually in July or August. In 2018, it will be officially celebrated on Friday 27 July, while in 2019 it will fall on Tuesday 16 July.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s Birthday
The birthday of King Maha Vajiralongkorn is celebrated on 28 July and is a public holiday in Thailand. HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has become the tenth king of Thailand, Rama X, only since 2016, when his father King Bhumibol died after a 70-year reign. Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun was a clear successor since he was Bhumibol’s only son. Following the death of his father on October 13, the Crown Prince did not immediately accept the crown. He accepted the throne on the night of 1 December 2016 but will not be crowned formally until after the cremation of his father, expected to be on 26 October 2017.
Called "Wan Khao Phansa" in Thai, the Khao Phansa Day marks the beginning of the three-month long period known as Phansa or Vassa in Thailand. In English, it is often referred as "Buddhist Lent", because it is the annual period when Theravāda Buddhism practitioners fast from such things as meat, alcohol, and tobacco. Another name usually used for Phansa is "Rains Retreat" because it takes place during the wet season and because Buddhist monks take this opportunity to confine themselves inside their temples for study and meditation. This is also an auspicious period for Buddhist ordinations and spiritual renewal. Khao Phansa lasts for three lunar months, usually from July to October. In 2018, Khao Phansa Day will be officially celebrated on Saturday 28 July, while in 2019 it will fall on Wednesday 17 July.
Queen Sirikit's Birthday
Also observed as the Mother’s Day, Wan Mae in Thai, on August 12th in Thailand is celebrated the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, full name in Thai: Wan Chaloem Phra Chonmaphansa Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit Phra Borom Rachininat Nai Ratchakan Thi Kao. The Thai Queen married the regret HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej on April 28th, 1950. The day is also called “Queen Mother’s Birthday”, as Queen Sirikit is the mother of reigning King Vajiralongkorn. It is a day to remember the humanitarian and other achievements of Thailand’s beloved Queen Mother. All across the Kingdom are exposed portraits of the Queen and raised flags. One of the best places to join the Queen's Birthday in Bangkok is Ratchadamnoen Avenue, and the areas around the Grand Palace, which are adorned with colorful lights, flowers and portraits for this special event.
Rama IX Commemoration Day
October 13 is public holiday in Thailand, a day to commemorate the death of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016. The majority of Thai people have known no other Thai monarch in their lifetime and he is fondly regarded as the Father of the Nation. Known as Rama IX, as he was the ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, Bhumibol Adulyadej reigned the Kingdom of Thailand since 9 June 1946 until his death on 13 October 2016. He was, at the time of his death, the world's longest-serving head of state, the longest-reigning monarch ever in Thailand's history and the longest-serving monarch having reigned only as an adult, serving for 70 years, 126 days. In line with Thai tradition, various Buddhist merit-making ceremonies are being held for King Bhumibol Adulyadej ahead of his cremation which isn’t expected to take place until late 2017.
Chulalongkorn Day or Piyamaharaj Day, as is usually named in Thailand, is celebrated on October 23. This public holiday commemorates one of Thailand’s most revered kings, King Rama V, Phra Chulachom Klao Chaoyuhua, who passed away on October 23rd 1910 at the age of 57. Portraits of King Chulalongkorn are believed to be a good luck charm for businesses, so many shops and businesses carry images of the present king alongside his grandfather, King Chulalongkorn. His picture can also be found on the back of Thailand’s 100 Baht note.
Even though it isn't a national holiday, Loy Krathong is probably Thailand’s most interesting and fascinating festival. Celebrated nationwide, this popular festival symbolizes the close ties between the Thai culture and water. Loy Krathong Festival is held on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, which usually falls in the month of November, but religious ceremonies and events are held over a period of several days, normally a day before and a day after the date of the full moon. Loy Krathong in 2017 is on Friday, the 3rd of November, while in 2018 it will be on Friday, the 23rd of November. The name of festival comes from the Thai word "loy" meaning to float, while "krathong" is a small decorative basket or raft made from natural materials which is then floated on a river. The traditional krathong is made from a cross-section of a banana tree trunk, which is then elaborately decorated with banana leaves and flowers in intricate towering designs. The krathongs usually contain a candle, incense and some coins. The person who will be floating the krathong often adds a small cutout of his hair or fingernail. Each year, the festival features several ceremonies and activities such boat races on the rivers, beauty contests, Krathong processions and parades. However, the festival's highlight is made by the lights from hundreds of candles that twinkle on the water. Each one carries prayers and wishes sent off to float down rivers and streams. It is believed that the krathong carries away bad luck and signals a new start.More... »
Yi Peng Lantern Festival
Yi Peng Lantern Festival, sometimes referred as "Yee Peng", is one of the most charming and symbolic events in Chiang Mai. There are several interesting events and religious ceremonies during the festival period, but Yi Peng's most iconic image is when thousands of "Khom Loi" are launched into the deep sky where they resemble bright stars of a dynamic constellation gently fluctuated by wind. Although the launch of floating lanterns can be seen throughout Thailand during the Loy Krathong, because both festivals are celebrated in the same day, it's Chiang Mai which has become synonymous with Yi Peng Lantern Festival. Closely linked to the ancient traditions of the Lanna Kingdom, the act of releasing the floating lanterns is a way to pay respect Buddha and also to release bad memories and misfortunes of the previous year. Buddhists also believe that if you make a wish when you release a khom loi, it will come true. Yi Peng Lantern Festival takes place on the full moon day of the second month according to the Lanna lunar calendar, which coincides with the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. While originally the festival was celebrated as an individual event in its own right marking the end of the rainy season and the start of cool season, nowadays Yi Peng Lantern Festival is held the same day as Loy Krathong. In 2017, Yi Peng and Loy Krathong will be held on Friday 3 November, while in 2018 both events will be celebrated on Friday, November 23.More... »
King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Birthday Anniversary
King Rama IX is much loved by his people, Him also take care of his peopl6e, during all his Reign. On 5 December it's celebrate his birthday, a day of great celebration for the whole Thailand. Every year, until the conditions that have allowed him to health, he went to visit towns and villages to talk to people and get to know their problems. Rama IX is near his people, he created many foundations and has put in place a number of projects aimed at improving the lives of its people, which also include what has allowed us to convert the cultivation of opium with other crops in areas of the Hill Tribes in northern Thailand, the Golden Triangle. Every year, on the evening of 5 December, is organized a big concert in Sanam Luang, the area in front of Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok. On the occasion of his birthday is customary for the king to grant the amnesty. Every year, moreover, the King is to make use of his speech, giving opinions and reflections on the state of the nation.