Thai National Holidays

March 15, 2010

It seems that every time you turn around there is another Thai national holiday.  They seem to always occur when you need to go to the bank or to immigration.  In fact, there are 15 Thai national holidays.  That compares to 10 U.S. federal holidays and only 8 “bank” holidays in England.

For New Years, the Thais celebrate January 1st, Chinese New Years, and Songkran, also known as Thai New Years.  In true Thai fashion, Songkran is a three-day celebration of partying and water splashing.  For Songkran, many old-time expats will stock up enough provisions so that they can stay home for the three days to remain dry and sane.

Chinese New Years is not an official holiday but lots of businesses, especially restaurants, will be closed for up to a week or more.

Another unofficial holiday celebrated around the country is Loy Kratong.  This is one of the favorite Thai holidays when people all go down to the local lake or river and float (loy) their ceremonial vessels of flowers, candles, and burning incense (kratong).  There are parades with larger floats, and lots of fireworks.  It is one of the many “festivals of light” celebrated around the world at the end of the year.  But remember, it is still a work day.

Constitution Day is an interesting holiday.  You would think that with the frequent constitution changes, the day you celebrate it would be forever changing.  But December 10, Constitution Day, is the celebration of Thailand’s first constitution back in 1932.

It is useful for visitors to Thailand to know what holidays are coming up.  For instance, you may want to schedule your visit so you can take part in the Songkran celebrations.  Or, you may want to schedule your visit so you will miss Songkran.  Check below to see when the upcoming holidays will be celebrated.

Download Calendar

You can download thaivisa.com’s 2010/2553 calendar here:  http://www.fnrf.science.cmu.ac.th/ftp/Calendar_2010_hirez.pdf showing these and some other holidays celebrated in Thailand.

Thai Holidays

New Year’s Day

Happy New Year, January 1.  Celebrated next on 3 January 2011

Chinese New Year

The new moon day of the first lunar month.   Not a true national holiday but widely celebrated.  Celebrated next on 3 February 2011

Makha Bucha

The full moon day of the third lunar month .  The Lord Buddha’s sermon to the first large gathering of monks.  Celebrated next on 18 February 2011

Chakri Day

Celebrates the founding of the current dynasty, April 6.

First day of Songkran

April 13.  Wet

Second day of Songkran

April 14. Wetter

Third day of Songkran

April 15. Wettest

Labor Day

International Labor Day, May 1. Celebrated next on 3 May 2010

Coronation Day

The crowning of Rama IX, May 5.

Visakha Bucha

The full moon day of the sixth lunar month.  The birth, enlightenment and death of the Lord Buddha.  Celebrated next on 26 May 2010

Buddhist Lent

The first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month.  The annual three-month rainy season retreat.  Celebrated next on 26 July 2010

Queen’s Birthday

Also Mothers day, August 12.

Chulalongkorn Day

The death of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, October 23.  Celebrated next on 25 October 2010

Loy Kratong

The full moon day of the 12 lunar month.  Not a national holiday but a beautiful festival of lights.

Celebrated next on 21 November 2010

King’s Birthday

Also Fathers Day, December 5.  Celebrated next on 6 December 2010

Constitution Day

The celebration of the 1932 constitution,   December 10.

New Years Eve

Drive Safely, December 31.


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2 Responses to “Thai National Holidays”

  1. Catherine said

    Great post Hugh! Last year was the first time I celebrated both Songkran and Loy Kratong. I was one of those expats not willing to get soaked, so I’ve avoided it each year. But it was hilarious fun, so I’ll go this year too (only this time, I’ll get a waterproof case for my camera).

  2. […] Makha Bucha: The full moon day of the third lunar month. The Lord Buddha’s sermon to the first large gathering of monks. Celebrated on 18 February 2011. […]

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