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Thai Festivals: Public Holidays in Thailand

No-one quite does festivals like they do festivals in Thailand - and that's a fact!

Major Thai Festivals are generally based upon Buddhist calendar events, but there are many others – nationally and locally.

There are many festivals in Thailand that depend upon some form of Thai culture, together with many locally-based ones to celebrate a unique aspect of that particular area.

Many festivals are based upon trade or shopping events, and some are simply as the result of a ‘Hey – let’s have a festival’ thought by some or other entrepreneur or general merry-maker.

Many are initiated and overseen by the local areas of government for various reasons.

The main thing is that most festivals in Thailand – even the serious ones – have an element of fun. Sanuk! (Thai word for fun)

Buddhist Festivals

The Buddhist festivals take place at certain times of the year – usually based upon the lunar cycle. These will have important Buddhist and cultural significance. That is not to say that they are all ultra-serious events. Far from it!

There will be many ancillary displays of Thai culture, entertainment, music and general merry-making.

Festival of Light in Chiang Mai ThailandThe Songkran Festival is one of the more important for Thais – and tourists. It takes place April 13th – 15th and is the start of the Thai New Year.

Thailand will also celebrate two other ‘new Year Festivals’ earlier.

The Chinese New Year – at the full moon in January or February, and before that, the International New Year on January 1st (and a few days either side!).

So in the space of 4 months, Thais will have the opportunity to celebrate 3 New Year Festivals.

Yes, the early months of the calendar year are full of fun and days off from work courtesy of various public holidays.

Local Thai Festivals

Thai festivals are not all national events. There are many locally based events that are based upon regional or village culture or activity. Umbrella Festival, Gemstone, assorted Boat Festivals together with Fruit, Vegetable, Flowers, and Orchid Festivals.

The image left was taken at the Chiang Mai Festival of Light - a spectacular event which sees the launching of many hundreds of paper lanterns into the sky.

All of these will have 'added' Thai attractions - just to make sure that everyone enjoys themselves.
You are certain to see many Thai crafts being demonstrated, and if that sounds a bit so-so, you will soon come to realise that Thai people have not forgotten how to use their hands.

List of Thai Festivals and Public Holidays 2017 

Date Holiday Name Type
January 1 New Year's Day National Holiday
January 14 National Children's Day Observance
January 16 Teachers' Day Observance
January 28 Chinese Lunar New Year's Day Observance
January 29 2nd Day of Chinese Lunar New Year Observance
January 30 3rd Day of Chinese Lunar New Year Observance
February 11 Makha Bucha Day National Holiday
February 14 Valentine's Day Observance
March 20 March Equinox Season
April 6 Chakri Day National Holiday
April 13 Songkran Festival (Thai New Year) National Holiday
April 14 Songkran Festival National Holiday
April 15 Songkran Festival National Holiday
May 1 Labor Day National Holiday
May 2 Labor Day Observed National Holiday
May 5 Coronation Day National Holiday
May 6 Coronation Day National Holiday
May 9 Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day National Holiday
May 10 Visakha Bucha Day National Holiday
June 20 June Solstice Season
July 1 Mid-Year Bank Holiday Bank Holiday
July 8 Asalha Bucha National Holiday
July 18 Extra Holiday National Holiday
August 12 H.M. Queen's Birthday (Mother's Day in Thailand) National Holiday
September 22 September Equinox Season
October 23 Chulalongkorn Day National Holiday
November 3 Loy Krathong National Holiday
December 5 Birth Date of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej National Holiday
December 5 Father's Day in Thailand National Holiday
December 10 Constitution Day National Holiday
December 12 Constitution Day Observed National Holiday
December 21 December Solstice Season
December 24 Christmas Eve Observance
December 25 Christmas Day Observance
December 31 New Year's Eve National Holiday