Thai Festivals and Public Holidays

thai festivals and public holidays

Thailand is a country rich in culture and unique traditions. It comes as no surprise then that many festivities and festivals are celebrated in Thailand throughout the year. International tourists naturally wonder about the time, customs, and significance of these festivals before deciding when to travel to Thailand.

Since applying for and obtaining a visa for Thailand has been made easier and faster for eligible foreigners, you could be ready to leave in much less than you thought. But before booking your plane tickets, read this page to find:

  • The Thai festivities calendar
  • The importance and origin of the most famous Thai festivals.

Whether you want to live a truly Thai experience and join in the celebrations or avoid the crowd for a more relaxing holiday, you’ll arrive prepared.

What Are the Major Holidays in Thailand?

In 2020, there will be 23 public holidays in Thailand. Some are regional holidays only and others are government holidays.

Here’s the complete list of Thai public holidays for 2020. Please note that dates may change following official announcements.

  • January 1st: New Year’s Day (regional holiday)
  • January 25th: Chinese New Year (regional holiday)
  • February 10th: Makha Bucha Holiday
  • April 6th: Chakri Day
  • April 13th: to 16th: Songkran Festival
  • May 1st: Labour Day
  • May 4th: Coronation of King Vajiralongkorn
  • May 6th: Visakha Bucha Day
  • May 13th: Royal Ploughing Ceremony
  • May 24th: End of Ramadan (regional holiday)
  • June 3rd: Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday
  • July 6th: Asahna Bucha Day Holiday
  • July 28th: King Vajiralongkorn’s Birthday
  • August 12th: Her Majesty the Queen Mother’s Birthday
  • October 13th: Passing of His Majesty the Late King
  • October 23rd: Chulalongkorn Memorial Day
  • December 7th: His Majesty the Late King’s Birthday Holiday
  • December 10th: Thailand Constitution Day
  • December 25th: Christmas Day (regional holiday)
  • December 31st: New Year’s Eve

As you can see from the list, Thai people celebrate some international holidays like Labour Day on May 1st.

Is Christmas a Public Holiday in Thailand?

Thailand is a vast country with a greatly multicultural society. The main religion practised in Thailand is Buddhism but there is a strong presence of other faiths, like Hinduism. Moreover, Thailand is home to many communities of immigrants. The Thai Chinese population, for example, mostly practices Taoism while the southern regions of Thailand are where the greatest number of Thai Muslims can be found.

That’s why certain religious holidays (like Christmas and the end of Ramadan) are only celebrated in specific areas where they are relevant to the local population.

For example, Chinese New Year, Christmas Day and the end of Ramadan are observed in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces only.

What Are the Festivals in Thailand?

Besides national holidays, Thai culture also celebrates a plethora of festivals and local fairs that foreigners will find fascinating and entertaining. Most Thai festivals are occasions that the whole family can enjoy but some can be upsetting for kids as they involve body modifications, hot coals, and knives.

This page will help you navigate the best Thai festivals that you can take part in with an eVisa for Thailand and will be a fun and memorable experience for the whole family.

The Yi Peng or Thai Lantern Festival

The Lantern festival is certainly one of the most spectacular and scenic festivities in Thailand. On the November night of Yi Peng, a great crowd gathers to lit Chinese paper lanterns and set them free in the sky, to symbolize letting go of the pains and misfortunes of the past year.

After the lanterns are released, the night continues with music performances and fireworks.

The Yi Peng festival takes place in Chiang Mai, making it ideal for tourists who won’t have to get out of their way to participate. Due to the festival’s popularity, it’s advisable to arrive early. The best spots to enjoy the lantern festival are Tha Phae Road and Mae Jo.

What Is the Water Festival in Thailand?

Perhaps the most famous Thai festival, the water festival (or Songkran) takes place on April 13th to mark the Thai new year with a national holiday. The celebrations last a whole week. During this time, people clean their houses, pour water over Budhha statues and take part in water games and battles to drench each other.

The water festival symbolizes cleaning away the sins of the past year. It’s also a time to celebrate the family elders and ancestors. The festival is a national holiday and is observed throughout the country. However, the biggest events are in Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Bangkok.

The Lopburi Monkey Banquet

Many animals are important to Thai culture. A Hindu legend has it that the deity Hanuman (represented as a monkey) rescued a god’s daughter from a demon, making monkeys a welcome presence in ancient towns and archaeological sites.

In Lopburi — a historical town 150 km north of Bangkok — the monkey banquet celebrates every November the significance of these animals. Locals and believers leave a banquet of fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables for the apes, who flock to eat in great numbers. It’s a fun and entertaining sight but tourists should refrain from getting too close to the animals.