Thailand flagThailand national flagThailand Major Holidays

January 1New Year's DayNew Year Greeting
February full moonMakha BuchaSpontaneous gathering of 1,250 Buddha's disciples
April 6Chakri DayFounding of the Royal House of Chakri Dynasty
April 13-15SongkranThai New Year - Water Festival
May 1Labor DayInternational Labor Day
May 5Coronation DayH.M. the King Adulyadej - Rama IX Enthronement
May full moonVisakha BuchaBirth, Enlightenment and Death of the Lord Buddha
July full moonAsalaha BuchaLord Buddha's First Sermon
JulyKhao PhansaBeginning of the Buddhist rainy season retreat
August 12The Queen's BirthdayH.M. the Queen's Birthday Celebrations
October 23Chulalongkorn DayThe King Rama V Memorial Day
December 5The King's BirthdayH.M. the King's Birthday Celebrations
December 10Constitution DayInauguration of Constitutional Monarchy in Thailand
December 31New Year EveSalutations to the outgoing year
Several unofficial yet popular Thai and international holidays like Loy Krathong Festival, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Hanukkah and other are also widely celebrated in Thailand.
Thailand flag

Thai Lunar Calendar

Although, the official calendar in the kingdom of Thailand is the Western Gregorian calendar, a traditional Thai lunar calendar is very much in use for determining many holidays, especially the Buddhists. Thai ancient lunar calendar distinguishes itself from Islamic and other lunar calendars by being set up based on the yearly agricultural cycle, as it was the most important aspect of the primarily agrarian society. Thai ancient lunar calendar is divided into 12 lunar months, like the western calendar, but the months are determined by the phases of the moon, rather than by a position of the earth in relation to sun. Being based on the cycles of moon phases, half of lunar months are 28 days long and another half are 29. Thai lunar month is also divided into four weeks.

Thailand National and Public Holidays in 2009

Thu-Fri, January 1-2New Year's DayNational Holiday
Mon, January 26Chinese New Year of the OxPublic Holiday *
Mon, February 9Makha Bucha dayNational Holiday
Mon, April 6Chakri DayNational Holiday
Mon-Wed, April 13-15Songkran (Thai New Year)National Holiday
Fri, May 1Labor DayNational Holiday
Tue, May 5Coronation DayNational Holiday
Fri, May 8Visakha Bucha DayNational Holiday
Tue, July 7Buddhist Lent DayNational Holiday
Wed, August 12Queen's BirthdayNational Holiday
Fri, October 23Chulalongkorn DayNational Holiday
Mon, November 2Loy Kratong FestivalPublic Holiday *
Sat-Mon, December 5-7King's BirthdayNational Holiday
Thu, December 10Constitution DayNational Holiday
Fri, December 25ChristmasPublic Holiday *
Thu, December 31New Years EveNational Holiday

* During informal public holidays the government offices, banks and other nationwide businesses are commonly open for business. Although, government offices, schools and businesses are closed during the national holidays, the bulk of the tourist attractions, shops, malls, as well as currency exchange booths are almost never closed.

Major Thai Celebrations Holidays and Festivals

Loi Krathong

Loy Kratong celebration
Fireworks and candles lit the spirit of Loi Krathong celebrations

Loy Krathong (or Loi Krathong) festival is one of the most popular and truly romantic Thai traditional festivals. It is held on the night of the 12th full moon (usually in November) to honor and celebrate the Goddess of Water (rivers and waterways), mae nam in Thai. It is also known as the Festival of Light.


Beauty pageants that accompany the festival are known as "Noppamas Queen Contests" take place all over Thailand. According to the legend, Noppamas was a consort of the Sukothai king Loethai (14th century) and she was the first to float decorated krathongs. The Loy Krathong festival is also associated with the start of vegetable carving contest and flower festival.

Chinese Lunar New Year

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year Celebrations in Bangkok's Chinatown

Chinese New Year (January to February) usually celebrated for three days, starting on the day before the Chinese New Year's Eve. The dates of Chinese New year are observed according to the lunar calendar on the second new moon day following winter solstice (when the sun is at its southernmost point, December 22). Although not a national holiday, the Chinese Lunar New Year is extensively celebrated throughout Thailand with one of the biggest and vibrant festivities is held in Bangkok's Chinatown.

Lion Dance
Lion Dance Performance During Chinese New Year in Bangkok

The lion and dragon dances, sounds of the firecrackers and fireworks are integral features of Chinese New Year festivities. The drums will resemble the lion's heartbeat and help to show all the emotions the lion may feel. Red is the lucky colour that everyone wears in order to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. The streets of Yaowarat and vicinity (Bangkok's Chinatown district) are ablaze with red Chinese lanterns and banners, and of course great Chinese food all over.


Songkran celebration
Throwing of water during Songkran celebrations

Songkran Festival (13 to 15 April) is certainly the biggest party of the year. Also known as traditional Thai New Year, the festival celebrates the end of the dry season, and has always involved water. Often called the Water Festival, it is the most celebrated event in Thailand. Everyone is happy, participating in the fun feast.

Songkran festival

Nowadays, Somgkran is associated with exuberant water fights with water guns, hoses and the like. It is celebrated mainly in the streets, which are all wet. One big wild party, a water parade of sorts, a giant water-gun extravaganza and no one stays dry.

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