Thailand Festivals – Songkran – Sawasdee Pee Mai!
Month – April I Day – 13 to 15 I No. Of Days – 3 Days I City – All of Thailand
The biggest among Thailand Festivals is The Thai New Year which is celebrated for three days, although the celebrations go for a week. It is also a three-day national holiday. During Songkran, most office buildings, banks and even family-run shops and restaurants shut down completely, while big shopping malls usually remain open.
This well-known of all Thailand festivals, Songkran is for those who love a good water fight. Something like a Holi in India minus the colors. This is the festival of waters. Water in buckets, hose pipes, water guns and what not.
The Songkran festival is not restricted to one place. The whole of Thailand is celebrating it, all the street of Thailand are celebrating it. You won’t be spared; even the cops get the wet treatment. But there are always few places where you enjoy the most. Here are the top spots in each city.
The capital city will be the wildest. Pool parties, Dj Parties even the clubs at RCA have parties.
- Khao San Road – Parties, Dancing drink and getting soaked from head to toe
- Silom Road – The wildest/craziest party location (Patpong Area)
- Phra Pradaeng District – Celebrated Traditionally.
Beach road is the place where everything happens. Beach has got stage shows, Dj’s spinning their tunes and since you are stuck in traffic, a lot of mobile parties.
Ammo remains the same, the buckets, water hose, water guns etc.
Tha Phae Gate is the place you should be heading. They have beauty pageants show – Miss Songkran.
Huaykaew Road for Thai stage shows with Thai pop stars and Dj’s.
Nimmanhaemin Road is where the party continues till late night.
Patong Beach is the obvious location. Be ready for some amazing beach parties wet and wild.
Soi Bangla among other things has a Miss Songkran beauty pageant.
Chaweng Beach is the place where parties on the beach and in all of the bars and the clubs happen. Head west to Na Thorn for a more traditional Songkran. The local fishermen and their families’ celebrate here.
Traditionally, Thais perform the Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual on the first day of Songkran, which is officially the National Elderly Day. During the ritual, young people would pour fragrant water into the elders’ palms as a gesture of humility and ask for their blessings.
The second day of Songkran is officially the National Family Day. Families would wake up early and give alms to the monks, and then ideally the rest of the day would be spent sharing quality family time together.
Contradictory to what you may have witnessed throughout Songkran, fun-loving Thais don’t just throw water at each other for no good reason (besides having a kick out of seeing other people soaking wet). The real meaning behind the splashes is to symbolically wash off all misfortunes in the past year, thus welcoming the New Year with a fresh new start.
Phi Ta Khon (Ghost Festival)
Month – June/July I Day – Weekend of the 6th full moon I No. Of Days – 3 Days I City – Dan Sai in Loei Province
The Colorful Phi Ta Khon Festival of Dan Sai
It is celebrated in the month of June/July; astrologically it is held on the weekend of the 6th full moon of the lunar calendar. The legend has it that such a party was thrown that not only the living but the dead too wanted to come. It is Thailand’s most colorful festival, where colourful masks are worn by thousands of locals. The masks are ghastly, stretched faces, decorated in bright colours.
Phi Ta Khon a tradition of the Dan Sai District of the Loei Province in Isan. It is better known as the ghost festival since it reflects the regions beliefs on ghosts and spirits. If you are in Bangkok, it’s around a seven-hour journey.
Buses leave from Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal about five times a day. It takes five hours by bus from Chiang Mai and from Udon Thani it’s a three hour bus ride.
Thailand Festivals – Monkey Buffet
Month – November I Day – Last Sunday of November I No. Of Days – 1 Day I City – Lopburi, Bangkok
Monkey Buffet Festival in Lopburi
This Thailand festivals is celebrated in Lopburi which is 150Km north of Bangkok. On the last Sunday of November each year, the town of Lopburi shows appreciation to their main tourist attraction, monkeys. They do this by serving a huge buffet of food, solely for the adorable and smart animals.
There’s a huge banquet laid out for the approximately 3,000 monkeys and they are allowed to feast on 4 tons of fruits, vegetables, and other treats.
Yi Peng – The Lantern Festival
Month – November I Day – Mid-way through November I No. Of Days – 3 Day I City – Chiang Mai
Yi means “two” and peng means a “full moon day”. Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai is celebrated on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month every year, which normally means mid-way through November, but this can vary. In 2016, the Yee Peng Lantern festival will be held on November 14th.
The official Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai usually takes place over three days with religious events, cultural activities, street parades and the release of sky lanterns. The event always takes place at the same time as Loy Krathong which means if you are in Chiang Mai you can also see floating krathongs on the Ping River.
The act of releasing the lantern and krathong symbolizes letting go of all ills and misfortunes in the previous year, and Buddhists also believe that if you make a wish when you set off the lantern, it will come true
Lanterns are released into the sky all over Chiang Mai during the night; the best place to head is Mae Jo University for the big release at 18.30. Do note that you should arrive well in advance of this time to get a good spot.
- Remember to wear respectable clothing.
- There is also the second release of lanterns for paying tourists only about a week after the official ceremony.
- The actual ceremony starts in the late afternoon. Expect lots of Buddhist prayers.
- Between 18.30-19-30 the lighting of lanterns begins.
- The idea then is for everyone to release the lanterns at once! There’s a signal to tell you when to do this. Don’t release them beforehand. The result if everyone releases the lanterns at once is a visual and emotional event.
Thailand Festivals – Loi Krathong
Month – November I Day – Mid or End of November I No. Of Days – 1 Day I City – All of Thailand
Loi means “to float”, while krathonghas various meanings, one of which is “a small container made of leaves which to be floated on water during the Loi Krathong festival”
This Thailand Festival takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar; hence, the exact date of the festival changes every year. In the Western calendar, this usually falls in the month of November. However, in 2015 it was celebrated on November 25th; in 2016 it was celebrated on November 14th.
Decorated elaborately a Krathong with folded banana leaves, incense sticks, and a candle. As an offering to the river spirits, a small coin is included. On the night of the full moon, Thais launch their Krathong on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as they do so. The festival may originate from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits. Many Thais use the Krathong to thank the Goddess of Water, the Hindu Goddess Ganga, Phra Mae Khongkha.
Differenr Asian countries celebrate this festival under a different name. Myanmar as the “Tazaungdaing festival”, Sri Lanka as “Il Full Moon Poya” and Cambodia as “Bon Om Touk”.
Here are some more Thailand Festivals:
BO SANG UMBRELLA FAIR & SAN KAMPHAENG HANDICRAFT
Month of January, in Chiangmai
The Bo Sang main street features colorful festival featuring contests, cultural performances, stalls selling traditional paper umbrellas and handicrafts.
CHIANG MAI FLOWER FESTIVAL
Month of February, Chiangmai
Witness the beautiful flower-decorated floats, ladies in the Flower Queen Beauty Pageant and the flower arrangement contest in this highly-anticipated colorful season in the North.
PHUKET VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL
Month of October, Phuket
For all veggie-lovers, this festival is for you! You will enjoy seeing superhuman displays of devotion like scaling razor – ranged ladder, then this festival is not to be missed.
FRUIT DAY IN CHANTABURI – May-June
This event is a series of sales fairs organized by community Housewives and One Tumbon One Product (OTOP), featuring fruit-decorated floats on parade, best fruit products showcase and modified fruit product contest.