Thailand’s Major Festivals and Events:

Thailand has go a multi-ethnic culture and its major events and festivals reinstates the same point. There are major festivals and events that is celebrated round the year and each of them has got its’ own significance. The following are some of the major cultural events in Thailand that should find a place when we mention of major Thailand news and events:

Thailand Festivals & Events in February

Bangkok China Town Festival

Yaowarat or famously called as “Chinatown” comes alive in the month of February to celebrate the festival of Chinese new year. The one kilometer stretch of Yaowarat road is decorated with Chinese lantern and flowers. The restaurants and stalls dishing up Chinese foods and they get a festive look during that period. This major event includes activities such as Golden Dragon Light and Sound Presentation, Chinese Street Opera, the International Dragon and Lion Parade and exhibitions of Chinese cuisines. This festival is observed from the first date of the Chinese Lunar calendar and normally falls on the first week of February.

Thailand Festivals & Events in March

Pattaya International Music Festival

Pattaya International Music Festival is held in the month of March every year. A bandwagon presents several styles of music performed by Thai and international artists on various stages across Thailand.

Thailand Festivals & Events in April

Songkran Thai Festival

This is the best known Thai festival and is celebrated across all parts of Thailand region. This festival commemorates the Thai New Year that usually falls around 13th-15th April every year. This is the time when the planetary position is such that the duration of days and nights are almost equal. In ancient times, the date of the festival was set by astrological calculation but it is now fixed.

Since this festival falls sometimes around the hottest day of the year so the most obvious celebration of this major Thailand festival is the throwing of water. The other major activities during Songkran festival is to visit a wat (Buddhist monastery) and pray for goodwill & offering food to monks. During this major event in Thailand people from all walks of life roam the streets with containers of water or water guns, or post themselves at the side of roads with a garden hose and drench each other and passersby. People also cleanse Buddha images from household shrines as well as Buddha images at various monasteries with scented water. This act is believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming New Year. In major cities, such as Chiang Mai, the Buddha idols from across city’s major monasteries are paraded through the streets and people toss water over the procession. In northern Thailand, people usually carry handfuls of sand to the nearby Buddhist monasteries in order to recompense the dirt that they have carried away on their feet during the rest of the year. The sand is then piled up in the form of a “Stupa” and is decorated with colorful flags.

The Songkran festival is popular in many parts of Thailand region. Some of these places where this festival is celebrated with much fervor and gaiety are Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Khao San Road.

Pattaya Festival

Pattaya Songkran festival normally falls on 18th-19th April of each year and has its own unique features. This festival is observed usually a week after the Songkran festival. The celebration includes: mass parades, food festivals, beauty contests, cultural events, musical performances, water sports competitions and some spectacular fireworks display.

Thailand Festivals & Events in May

Royal Ploughing Ceremony

This ancient Brahmin festival is presided over by the King and Queen at Sanam Luang in Bangkok. This event marks the beginning of the rice-planting season in Thailand. Predictions are made by Brahmin soothsayers about weather and harvests on the basis of foods chosen by the sacred oxen.

Visakha Bucha – Nationwide Thai Festival

This Buddhist festival that is observed all over the world by all the Buddhist communities commemorates the events of birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha. In Thailand night-time processions are held by worshippers of Lord Buddha in and around every temple in the kingdom.

Yasothon Rocket Festival

This is a merry making festival traditionally practiced around Northeast Thailand and Laos. Celebrations generally include musical events and dance performances, competitive processions of floats. On the second day musicians and dancers show their talents. On the third and final day villagers from the northeastern province of Yasothon compete with each other to make the biggest, most explosive bamboo rockets. This is also treated as the annual rainmaking festival.

Thailand Festivals & Events in July

Candle Festival

Ubon Ratchathani or The Candle Festival is generally held in Ubon Ratchathani, Isan of Thailand. This festival coincides with Asalaha Bucha and on the eve of this festival the streets of Ubon Ratchathani are filled with processions of huge, beautifully carved beeswax candles, some of them several meters tall. These candles are paraded to local temples or wats.

Thailand Festivals & Events in August

Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen – Thai National Festival

12th August of each year is the birthday of Her Majesty of Thailand and is commemorated as the Mother’s Day in Thailand. On this major event in Thailand, the towns and villages are decorated with lights and portraits of the Queen.

Thailand Festivals & Events in September

Phuket Vegetarian Festival

This ten day long Chinese festival held on the island of Phuket in southern Thailand has become world-famous for the gory pictures of people impaling their faces and bodies with everything from swords, spears and even fish. Apparently unable to feel pain and in a trance-like state, these people of Chinese ancestry march through the streets with various arrays of sharp objects still protruding from their flesh. A little less gory are the fairs, beauty pageants and food stalls that line on the streets of Phuket.

Thailand Festivals & Events in October

Wax Castle Festival

The people in the northeast Thailand celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent by creating miniature beeswax Buddhist temples and shrines. It is widely believed that making “wax castles” will help them to gain merit and will also determine their future rebirth. In the Sakon Nakhon province observed one of the most spectacular festivals with a grand wax procession, traditional northeastern cultural performances and boat races.

Thailand Festivals & Events in November

Wan Loy Krathong – Thailand National Festival

This is one of the most beautiful of the Thai festivals, is held on the full moon of the last month of the traditional lunar calendar of Thailand. This festival is celebrated when all waterbodies, rivers, canals and coastal areas are illuminated by thousands of candles placed on floating kratongs. This is a very gentle festival.

The Kratongs (boats) made from the trunk of a banana tree, are decorated with flowers, incense and candles are made in advance, ready to float upon the water. People generally pray so that the krathong will safely float away, taking all bad spirits, bad luck and their sins along with it.
Beautiful sights are visualized at the Bang Sai Arts & Crafts Centre near Ayutthaya, and among the ruins of Sukhothai. This festival is supposed to have originated at this first Thai capital.

Surin Elephant Roundup

The festival of Surin Elephant Round-up normally takes place on the 3rd week of November in the Surin province, Isan, Thailand. It first held in 1960. This major Thailand event is commemorated with a series of competitions such as: tug-o-wars, demonstrations of logging skills, ancient warfare parades, and even games of football by the elephants of Surin.

Thailand Festivals & Events in December

Birthday of His Majesty the King – Thailand National Festival

5th December is the birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand. This date is observed as a national event in Thailand. The streets and buildings of every town and village are decorated with lights, national flags and portraits of His Majesty the King. This annual event of Thailand is marked by a huge and spectacular fireworks display near the Grand Palace.