When you travel to Thailand you will notice that the calendar is filled to bursting with holidays, festivals and religious days – in fact it seems like there is a special day in Thailand almost every week!
There are at least 15 public holidays in Thailand and most Thai workers will receive additional vacation time as well as these. During public holidays some shops and entertainment venues will be open but most government buildings and offices tend to be closed. Sometimes post offices, schools and banks will be closed on these days as well. Most public holidays will be celebrated at the same date every year, but sometimes if the holiday falls on a weekend it will be moved to the following Monday.
Many of the Thai holidays and festivals offer a wonderful opportunity for travellers to engage in the colourful culture of Thailand. While there are way too many holidays and festivals throughout the year to include here, let's list some of the main public holidays in Thailand.
New Year's Day - January 1
This is the first day of the year within the Gregorian calendar and along with New Year's Eve it is a holiday in Thailand.
Makha Bucha Day - First Full Moon of the Third Lunar Month
This is a very important Buddhist holiday, which is held in honour of a sermon that Buddha gave his students. During this day it is important to do only good, not commit sins and focus on purifying the mind. In 2015 it will be celebrated on February 3rd.
Chinese New Year - First Day of the First Lunar Month
There are large Chinese communities in many parts of Thailand, so this day is widely celebrated. Its date changes every year but is usually around the end of January or beginning-middle of February. In 2015 the date is February 19th.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival - February 6-8, 2015
This colourful festival includes parades, exhibitions, a Miss Chiang Mai Flower pageant and of course, many bright bouquets of blooms.
Songkran - April 13-15th
This is the Thai New Year festival and taking part in this event will be an incredibly memorable experience for travellers.
The main tradition involves throwing water on friends and strangers in the street, which is a way to "cleanse" people of sin and bad luck and bring them good fortune. During this festival, which takes place in the hottest time of the year, Thai people will walk the streets having water fights with buckets of water and squirt guns.
This religious festival commemorates when Buddha gave his very first sermon. In 2015 it will be celebrated on June 30th.
The King's Birthday - December 5
This special holiday commemorates King Bhumibol Adulyadej on his birthday.
These are just a few examples of holidays and festivals in Thailand, as there are too many more to list here. While planning your trip, make sure to find out which events and holidays will take place during your visit so that you can check out the festivities.