As a country rich in culture and tradition, it is no surprise that there are many fascinating festivals in Thailand that are held all year round. The chance to take part in these festivals is available every month, which is thrilling. Whether you’re looking to learn about Thai culture and Buddhist rituals, pay respects on religious holidays or simply have fun participating in and witnessing some famous festivals in Thailand, here are our recommendations for popular Thai holidays not to be missed.
Do you know some famous festivals in Thailand?
Chinese New Year (January or February)
Thailand has a large Chinese population, especially in areas like Bangkok and Phuket. So, the Chinese New Year (aka Spring Festival) is one of the biggest festivals in Thailand. The narrow alleys of Bangkok’s Chinatown (Yarowaraj) are filled with festivals: dragon and lion dances, parades, firecrackers, lanterns and lots of great food from famous street food vendors of Chinatown. This is definitely one of Thailand’s funniest festivals that you should explore.
Songkran Festival- Thai New Year ( April)
Songkran is considered to be the biggest and most exciting festival in Thailand, a major celebration of the Thai New Year in the form of a large-scale nationwide water war! This festival will last 3 days with the participation of people from all over the country. The tradition dates back to the 13th century when religious ceremonies such as splashing water on Buddha statues took place to symbolize the washing away of the bad deeds of the previous year and the start of a good new year.
Loy Krathong Festival ( November)
Loy Krathong is Thailand’s “Festival of Lights” and is one of the country’s most important holidays, along with Songkran (Thai New Year). On the evening of the Loy Krathong festival, people gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay their respects to the water goddess by releasing small, floating, candlelit vases called “Krathong” into the water. It is believed that Krathong carries away bad luck, signaling a new beginning.
If the candle on your Krathong stays lit until you can no longer see it, this means you will have good luck in the coming year. In Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River is the center of the Loy Krathong festival with cultural performances, boat processions, fireworks and many other activities.
Yi Peng Festival ( November)
Yi Peng is the only festival held in northern Thailand. Originally this was a stand-alone event, marking the end of the rainy season, however, Yi Peng is now taking place at the same time as Loy Krathong. The festival will run for 3 days with religious events, cultural activities, street parades and lantern release. “Khom Loi” (floating lanterns) are released all over Chiang Mai and seeing the lanterns floating in the night sky against the background of a full moon is a truly magical sight. Dropping lanterns is a way to pay respects to the Buddha and also to release bad memories and wishes for the future.
Phi Ta Khon- Ghost Festival (July)
One of the most unusual (and terrifying) festivals in Thailand is Phi Ta Khon or Ghost Festival. Phi Ta Khon is actually the name given to a group of ghost-themed festivals that take place in Isan, northern Thailand, as part of the Buddhist holiday. The origin of Ghost Festival is a mixture of Buddhist and animist beliefs. During this festival, participants will dress up in spooky costumes, wear colorful masks, wave wooden penises and compete in a series of games and competitions. Consider attending this festival if you want to experience the atmosphere of religious festivals in Thailand.
Mothers’ Day ( August)
The Thai monarchy is highly revered, as is Mother’s Day, on the birthday of the queen (now the queen’s mother) and it is also a public holiday. This is a special occasion not only to honor the mothers of the nation, but also the queen mother herself, Queen Sirikit. On this day, many Thais choose to celebrate by making offerings to the monks, treating their mothers to a special meal, as well as giving cards and gifts, such as jasmine – the flower that symbolizes prosperity purity, tenderness and motherhood in Thai culture.
Bang Fai Phaya- Naga Fireballs Festival ( October)
Although it may sound impossible, the Bang Fai Phaya or Naga Fireball Festival takes place every year in October during the full moon, when mysterious fireballs rise into the sky from the Mekong River around Nong Khai. No smoke, no smell and no sound. Thousands of large red-pink balls of light were observed rising into the night sky, reaching up to 30 meters high in the air and then disappearing. The unexplained phenomenon has attracted crowds of tourists to witness this magical sight, creating a festive atmosphere.
It is theorized that these fireballs are made up of a combination of nitrogen and methane, which reaches certain temperatures at this time of year, causing a reaction – but this has not been confirmed. Thai folklore says that snakes named Phaya Naga that live in the river launch fireballs to signal the end of Buddhist Lent and call the Buddha back to Earth.
Boon Bang Fai- The Rocket Festival (May)
The rocket festival is held in Yasothorn province, northeastern Thailand. This is one of the festivals in Thailand that is very popular among the farming community because the rocket is meant to encourage the gods to bless them with abundant rains. Locals build rockets nearly 20 feet long. The rockets were first paraded around the city before being launched into the sky fueled by sulfur and charcoal. The person with the highest-flying rocket usually wins a prize of almost 10,000 THB. As one of the best festivals in Thailand 2022, each Rocket Festival features live folk music, beauty contests, drinking local rice wine and a fun-filled party.
Along with the beautiful beaches and vibrant city life, Thailand is full of culture and festivals that welcome everyone. So what famous festivals in Thailand do you want to participate in? Whatever your choice, make sure you’ve planned your stay in Thailand around some of these most amazing festivals that will make your journey a hit beyond expectations.