Thailand loves festivals and the country has plenty of them. It is not surprising because having fun and socializing is a big part of Thai culture. Each month there are numerous Thailand festivals being celebrated throughout the country. Festivals are always a pleasant experience and can delight you with glimpses into the country’s heritage and traditions.
The traditional Thai New Year or Songkran Festival is Thailand’s biggest festival of the year. Traditionally it’s a three-day festival lasting from the 13th to 15th of April. During Songkran people get together and make merit at the temple and gently pour water mixed with Thai fragrance over the Buddha images. The water is also used to pour over the hands of the elders when asking them for blessing.
More well-known side of Songkran is a three-day long water fight throughout the whole country. During the festival, the streets fill up with people looking to soak and get soaked. No matter where you are in Thailand, during that time you will be walking distance from some kind of fun celebration. Water guns, hose pipes, buckets are used to splash people, so be prepared to find your own water gun and join in the fun!
Loy Krathong is an important festival for Thai people. Loy Krathong is organized in all areas of Thailand, especially the areas adjacent to the rivers. It is held every year on the full moon of the twelfth month in the Thai Lunar Calendar. "Loy" literally means "to float", while "Krathong" refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle which can float on the water.
The purpose of this festival is to pay respect to the Goddess of the Water, Phra Mae Khongkha (Thai: พระแม่คงคา), showing the gratitude on the plentiful use of water and ask for forgiveness of the ensuing pollution.
The activity of Loy Krathong Festival is making "Krathong" and floating it on the water. It is believed that Krathong was first created by Tao Sri Chulalak or Nang Noppamas in Sukhothai. The Krathong is made from natural materials; traditionally made from the leaves and stalk of a banana tree and decorated with many beautiful flowers like lotus flowers, a candle and incense sticks. People will cut nails, hair or put coins into the Krathong before floating it on the water. Floating the Krathong also refers to leaving the bad things in the past and wishing for good luck in the future.
In Chiang Mai, it coincides with the Lanna festival of Yi Peng. "Yi" means "two" and "peng" means a "full moon day". The festival is meant to be a time for making merit.
Phi Ta Khon
The Phi Ta Khon is a festival traditional to the Dan Sai district of Loei Province in Isan (Northeast Thailand). It is better known as the Ghost festival since it reflects the local Isan beliefs on ghosts and spirits. Phi Ta Khon is renowned for the colorful costumes and masks of “spirits” worn by thousands of local men. The festival is held every year on the weekend of the 6th full moon of the lunar calendar which occurs around June/July.
Monkey Buffet Festival
Lopburi is best known for its packs of monkeys that can be seen among the ruins of the historical city. Monkeys are the main tourist attraction here and the town shows appreciation to them by putting on a Monkey Buffet Festival. A huge buffet of 4 tons of fruits, vegetables and other treats is laid out for the 3,000 monkeys wandering around the town. The Monkey Buffet Festival is taking place around Phra Prang Sam Yod (better known as Monkey Temple) on the last Sunday in November every year.
The 10th Lunar Month Festival
You should visit “Tenth Lunar Month festival” (th: ประเพณีเทศกาลเดือนสิบ) - a traditional festival of Southern Thailand organized in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The Tenth Lunar Month Festival is a Buddhist ceremony which was influenced by belief of Brahmanism and mixed with belief of Buddhism afterwards with significant purpose of expressing gratitude and obligation through merit making to spirits of passed away ancestors and relatives.
Thailand Tourism Festival
The popular Thailand Tourism Festival is the country’s largest domestic tourism fair organized every January. Last three years it was taking part at Lumphini Park transforming it into a mini representation of the kingdom with replicas of landmarks and examples of cultural events from the five major regions of the kingdom – North, South, East, Central and Northeast. There are also processions, musical performances and cuisine and tasty treats from all over Thailand to try. Five tourism villages display the unique and different ways of life of Thai people across the region.
The event is free and can give you an idea about places you may want to go and things you want to see when travelling in Thailand.