Celebrations in Thailand
The country of the 3 New Years
Not satisfied with only the Western New Year, Thailand also love to celebrate the national and the Chinese, earning itself the name of the country of the three new years ! In addition to this curious custom in Thailand coexist numerous national holidays every year accompanied by lively performances, noisy processions and colourful parades. Whether it is a religious festival, secular or historical does not matter: the parties in Thailand are a must ! And not just for the joy and the colors that characterize it, but because it is a fun -‘sanuk ‘in Thai – language essentially rooted in the culture and traditions of Thailand. Each inhabitant therefore can not fail, but the same applies to all visitors and tourists that happen in the country of their smile during the holidays.
January and February in Thailand
In January we celebrate the That Phanom Festival, at a Buddhist temple in the province of Nakhom Phanon, north-east of the country, which houses a relic of Buddha. At the same time the fair is held at the Don Chedi, a small village in central Thailand, the scene of great historical value: in 1592 the King Nareusan defeats in these places the Burmese invaders, in an epic duel on elephant back. During the festival they are held picturesque tournaments with elephants.
In addition to the January 1, marking the turn of the year also in the West, in Thailand in February we celebrate the Maha Puja ceremony commemorating the first prayer of the Buddha in front of a crowd of faithful spontaneously. The anniversary falls on the full moon of the third lunar month and sees participate with numerous preparations all Buddhist temples in Thailand. In the evening you can attend suggestive processions with candles, torchlight processions in which the faithful perform three times a lap around the temples: a time for the Buddha, his teachings for one and one for the community of monks.
Thailand: February and March
Between the end of February and beginning of March we celebrate the Chinese New Year, which in Thai is called Trut Jiin and marks the beginning of the lunar year. Of all the festivals in Thailand, this is very much felt by the extensive Chinese community that lives in the country (about six million people). The days of celebration are the occasion to pay homage to the deities with their offers of land and fortune. In major cities parade the legendary Chinese dragons and of course the night is illuminated by spectacular fireworks. Besides Bangkok, shows and events are held mostly richest in Nakhon Sawan, the majority Chinese cities across Thailand.
April: Songkhran, the water festival
The funniest party across Thailand last April 13 to 15 (and in some places lasts until 19): is the Songkhran. This is the real Thai New Year, according to the confession of Theravada Buddhism, but among the people is commonly called the water festival. The festival marks the end of the dry season it and the beginning of the monsoon rains, vital for the rice plantations of the nation. During Songkran, the people take to the streets by bathing in a sign of good omen. This’ water fight goes on from morning to evening throughout the holiday period. The Songkhran is, however, also serious and reflective occasion to honour and bring gifts to the elders of his family. No doubt it is the party most loved by Thais, but also a must-see event for every tourist!
Other festivals in Thailand between May and June
In May it is celebrated on Visakha Puja, which falls on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the sixth lunar month. It is the most sacred holiday of Buddhism in Thailand and commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. During the religious festival of the faithful go to temples to listen to the prayers of the monks and bring in gift their offers.
In the same month, in the north east of Thailand there is the feast of the rockets Chein Thai. This event is called Bun Bang Fai, and is characterized by the explosion of rockets with handmade bamboo. Directed towards the sky, these shots are a sign of atonement for the rains.
Halfway between May and June, you can watch the royal plowing ceremony, which takes place in the plain of Sanam Luang, Bangkok. It is an ancient ritual Brahminical restored by the King in 1960, during which the priests bless the rice seeds and throw them in a pattern laid down with a cart pulled by buffalo: the ritual symbolizes the beginning of sowing.
In July it celebrates instead the ‘ Asanha Puja, which is the first sermon given by the Buddha in front of his first five disciples. This anniversary falls on the full moon day of the eighth lunar month. The next day is celebrated on Khao Pansa, the beginning of the period in which they ordered the young monks, who then remain in the monastery for three consecutive months without ever leaving.
In July takes place the festival of candles, the Buddhist festival of Khao Pansaa , that in the north-east of the country is characterized by a colourful procession of huge candles, hoisted on wagons. Between late September and early October is celebrated the Feast Vegetarian falling at the beginning of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. In Phuket and Trang commemorates an episode somewhere between history and legend: a group of Chinese actors healed from the plague that infested the territory thanks to a vegetarian diet. So, during this festival, for nine days in a row the faithful do not eat meat, but feed on vegetarian dishes in order to purify themselves. In October, during the first full moon day, it is held on Phansa Festival commemorating the Buddha’s return to Earth after a long period of preaching in paradise. On this day the monks meditate whether to continue the monastic life or return to normal life.
November: Loi Kratong, the festival of lights
In November there is the feast of Loi Krathong or Festival of Lights . It falls on the first day of full moon of November and, between the various parties in Thailand, it is certainly one of the most evocative: it celebrates the coming of the Buddha on earth. On this day in streams they are laid floral arrangements with candles which, according to tradition, are used to illuminate the path of Buddha. The festival takes place throughout Thailand, but the most spectacular events take place in Sukhothay and Chiang Mai.
The third weekend of November is held a massive gathering of elephants in the city of Surin in Isaan. These animals have a very important role in the culture and economy of Thailand, so today we celebrate their immense figure with a national holiday.
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