Festivals of Thailand – An Overview

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The Thai people love to have fun and get together to celebrate. One of the great things about Thailand is that there are numerous different festivals spread throughout the year. Experiencing the magic of the biggest festivals is one of the most exciting things to do in Thailand.

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is celebrated in style in Bangkok, especially in the Chinatown district, which is known locally as Yaowaraj. The date of the festival varies according to the phases of the moon, but typically takes place around the end of January. People who wander the streets of Yaowaraj at this time will find them full of colourful dragon dancers, while vibrant street parades snake their way through the district. The air will be full of the smell of incense and the sound of firecrackers as well as music and laughing from the crowds that gather to watch the magic unfold and take part.

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Songkran
This is the Thai New Year and takes place over the course of three days in the middle of April. The first day of Songkran is marked by a trip to the local temple, while on the second two days the streets of Thailand are taken over by a massive water fight as people keep cool at the hottest time of year by throwing water at each other. Everyone is encouraged to join in the fun and the best places to celebrate Songkran in Bangkok are Silom and the Khaosan Road area, which attracts thousands of people from all around the world at this time of year.

Vegetarian Festival
This festival lasts for nine days in October and is the time when a large number of Chinese and Thai people appease the spirits by becoming vegetarian for a few days. A large number of restaurants and street stalls throughout Thailand serve special vegetarian dishes at this time, while special parades are held throughout the country.

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Loy Krathong
Thai people apologise to the water spirits in the month of November by creating special floating candle rafts made from banana roots and launching them on the river. The occasion is also marked by a boat parade along the Chao Phraya River in the evening, while some people also launch rice paper balloons known as kom loy into the sky. Secure a spot along the bank of the Chao Phraya River during Loy Krathong to take in the magic of this festival. Special boat trips are organised along the river during this time, while parades and special markets are also set up in various spots close to the river.

The King’s Birthday
This prestigious event takes place on December 5th. A large number of people head to the Grand Palace to hear a special speech by King Bhumibol on this day, while the occasion is also marked by parades and firework displays. One can often see long stretch of people on the streets during the dusk, carrying candles on hand, as a mark of respect and love for his majesty.

Christmas
While Christmas is not generally celebrated by Thai people, a large number of Western restaurants in Thailand hold special Christmas Day dinners. This is a great time for people who are on holiday in Thailand to get together with friends to mark the occasion, while many modern Thai people also join in the fun. Large shopping malls throughout Thailand are decked with Christmas decorations several weeks before Christmas and a number of clubs get in one the action by holding special Christmas parties.

New Year’s Eve
Most Thai people like to celebrate the end of the year, which they refer to as Count Down. Special parties are held throughout Thailand and most of the islands hold firework displays at midnight.

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