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Thailand has many festivals each year, some are just local festivals which maybe celebrated in a single province, a good example of this is the Ghost Festival in Loei, others are celebrated all over Thailand such as Songkran the Thai New Year, or Loy Krathong which is the festival at the end of the Buddhist lent, if you have any Thai Festival questions feel free to post them in our Thai Festivals Forum, or if your interested in the Thai Royal Family why not browse our Thai Royal Family Forum
One of the unusual aspects of Thailand and Asia is that on many holidays the sale of alcohol is banned, this means most bars and gogo bars will be closed, many shops will refuse to sell you beer or spirits, also during elections the sale of booze is prohibited.
The Thai word wan - วัน means day, you can learn more about the Thai language in our Learn Thai Forum.
Thai National Holidays & Festivals
1st Jan - New Years Day on the Gregorian calendar.
Feb - Wan Makha Bucha Day (Full moon, 3rd Thai lunar month (February)
To commemorate 1,250 monks from different places that spontaneously went to pay homage to the Buddha on the same day. (No alcohol day so bars generally closed)
6th April - Wan Chakri Day
Commemorates the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty and the founding of Bangkok by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke in 1782. Officially known as King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke the Great Day and Chakri Dynasty Memorial Day.
13th - 15th April Songkran
Songkran is Thailand's wildest holiday and held over 2 to 7 days depending where in Thailand you are, this is the water festival, an all out war with water pistols and buckets of water, some tourists love it, many expats hate it.
5 May - Wan Chattra Mongkhon Day (Coronation Day)
The Coronation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej took place on 5 May, 1950. His Majesty is the ninth King of the Chakri Dynasty. On 5 May of every year, the Thai people rejoice in expressing their affection and loyalty to His Majesty by organising a celebration on Coronation Day.
May - Wan Phuetcha Mongkhon Day ((Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day)Date announced by the Royal Household Bureau)
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is to check whether the land will be fertile this year, whether the water will be abundant or whether the farmers' harvests will yield a rich output.
May - Wan Wisakha Bucha Day (Full moon, 6th Thai lunar month)(No Alcohol Day)
Visakha Bucha Day commemorates three important anniversaries in the life of the Lord Buddha: his birth, his enlightenment, and his death. The Lord Buddha passed away exactly 80 years from the day of his birth.
July - Wan Asanha Bucha Day (Full moon, 8th Thai lunar month)(No Alcohol Day)
Asarnha Buscha Day celebrates Buddha’s first sermon to his initial five disciples. Asarnha Buscha also anticipates Kao Pansa, the three month period of Buddhist penitence and fasting also known as Buddhist Lent. Asanha Bucha Day in Bangkok
July - Wan Khao Phansa Day ((Buddhist Lent)First waning moon, 8th Thai lunar month)
The start of Buddhist lent and the rainy season, this is also a time when young men become monks for the first time, one of the main things to see are the Wax Carvings which are extremely intricate.
First Weekend of August - Phuket annual event held in Kathu is the Kathu Culture Day, nice parades, some displays of old VWs and Vespa, if your in Phuket at this time why not take the time to visit Kathu.
12th August - HM the Queen's Birthday (Mothers Day)
In 1976, National Mother’s Day was officially changed from April 15th to August 12th, the day of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s Birthday. According to the book, “ The Royal Mother of All Thai Citizens” published on July 6, 1977 by the Ministry of Education.
23rd October - Chulalongkorn Day
King Chulalongkorn (or Piyamaharaj) Day is to commemorate the day on which King Chulalongkorn passed away. King Chulalongkorn the Great was he reformer king of the educational system, military affairs, National Communication, the State Railway and the Slave Liberation Act, without bloodshed in Thailand.
November - Loy Krathong Although not a public holiday
Loy Krathong is probably the nicest Thai festival with some great photo opportunities, the women dress in traditional costumes and Krathongs are floated out to sea or on rivers.
5th December Fathers Day (Many areas no alcohol day)
Coincides with His Majesty King Bhumibol’s birthday, the National Father’s Day has been scheduled to be held on 5 December in order to express our gratitude to the king who has devoted ceaseless efforts for the betterment of the Thai nation.
10th December - Constitution Day
Commemorates the promulgation of the first permanent constitution in 1932.
28th December King Taksin Day (although it is not designated as a public holiday many shops etc maybe closed)
King Taksin Day is celebrated to mark the Coronation of “Phraya Vajiraprakarn” who was elevated to “Somdech Phraboromaracha IV” and is more commonly known as King Taksin.
31st December - New Year's Eve
Thai Regional Festivals
Thailand has literaly 100's of regional festivals and fairs throughout each year, probably the most memorable one is the Isaan Rocket Festival (Bang Fai) in May near the beginning of the rainy season, festivities include Morlam, fairs, cock fighting and of course homemade rockets, the most famous place for these rockets is of course Yasothon.