and National Festivals
National Festivals - Loy Kratong
Kratong , or 'festival of light' is celebrated on the
night of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month
(usually November). It is one of the two most widely
recognised festivals in Thailand and is probably the
most beautiful, picturesque and enchanting of all Thai
'Loy' literally means 'to float', while 'kratong' refers
to a small lotus-shaped floral receptacle which can
float on the water. The kratong, which was traditionally
made of banana leaves, (although more creative materials
are also used nowadays), contains flowers, candles and
incense. According to legend, the festival originated
when a young princess floated a small boat laden with
candles and incense downstream to take away bad luck.
As the full moon rises, Thais will kneel at the water's
edge, with floral kratong in hand, add a few small coins
and several strands of hair, plucked from the head at
the time, light the candles and incense, say a silent
prayer, and then very carefully launch their kratong
into rivers, canals, ponds, or the sea to wash away sins
and to bless love affairs.
They will watch very intently as the float drifts slowly
and silently downstream, hoping that the candle will not
go out. It's flame is said to signify longevity,
fulfillment of wishes and release from sins. The
celebration is also considered a romantic night, as
couples who make a wish together on Loy Kratong are
thought to stay with each other for ever in the future.
Thai women dress in beautiful traditional Thai dresses
for Loy Kratong.
Also, as part of the celebration, nearby temples will
release numerous 'khom loy' (floating lanterns) into the
moonlit sky, hoping that misfortune will fly away with
Kratongs are readily available from vendors, and
everyone is extremely welcome to join in and celebrate
this unique occasion - a chance to make sincere wishes
and look to the future as you watch, in silence, your
candlelit floral offering drift peacefully and
gracefully into the distance in the gentle currents.
National Festivals - Makha
This is a
very important Buddhist lunar festival, celebrated
nation-wide, and is based on the historic gathering of
the Lord Buddha's disciples. It takes place during the
full moon of the third lunar month (typically mid to
late February) and devotees will join candle-lit
processions around temples.
Note that Thais use a different lunar calendar to the
Chinese. The first month of the Thai lunar year takes
place usually in November while the Chinese lunar new
year generally occurs in February. Both systems use a
solar calendar for solstice-oriented festivals but make
adjustments by adding a lunar month once every three
solar years. As stated under our Songkran section, the
"official" Thai New Year is actually celebrated at
Songkran (during the fifth Thai lunar month).
National Festivals - His
Majesty the King's Birthday 5th December
and respect felt by Thai people for their King, His
Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX), who
ascended the throne on 9 June 1946 and is the world's
longest reigning monarch, is on display throughout the
country every day and in particular this day, the 5th
The occasion is marked by an outpouring of love and
reverence by Thai people throughout the kingdom and
around the world.
The King has a special place in the hearts of the Thai
people through his combination of devotion to the
welfare and development of his people, and a keen
understanding and awareness of political and social
Buildings and homes all over the country are elaborately
adorned with flags, and portraits of His Majesty. Around
the Grand Palace and Ratchadamnoen Avenue areas of
Bangkok, thousands of vividly colored marigolds decorate
the streets. People assemble on the streets with lit
candles to honour their monarch. The most spectacular
event is perhaps the review of massed Royal Guards by
their Majesties the King and Queen at the Royal Plaza in
National Festivals -
is one of the oldest traditions in Thailand, and marks
the "official" Thai New Year, even though it falls in
the fifth month of the Thai lunar calander. There are
historical, climatic and cultural reasons as to why it
does not take place on the first Thai lunar month.
Songkran has its origins in ancient astrology and the
position of the sun. It is held annually on 13th April,
but can last for upto three days in some parts of the
During this auspicious celebration Thais traditionally
return home for family reunions, and visit temples,
sprinkling water on Buddha images in reverence. Meeting
friends and sprinkling water on each others' shoulders
and hands is an act of wishing good luck.
Although the tradition of gentle sprinkling in temples
and homes is still practiced, Songkran has become an
exuberant festival with revellers throwing water at
anyone and everyone in the streets. So join in this
extremely good natured fun, and cool off from the heat,
but don't forget to leave cameras and all non-waterproof
valuables in your room, because you are likely to get
Local Festivals - Turtle
releasing at Thai Muang beach
an annual 7 day event, usually during the first week of
March, to release young turtle hatchlings, which have
been raised by the Fisheries Dept., back into the sea at
Thai Muang National Park beach.
One of the prime objectives of the Park is to offer
protection to the visiting nesting turtles and increase
the survival rate of the young.
Leatherback and Olive Ridley are the two main species of
turtle which frequent the Park.They come ashore to lay
their eggs on moonlit nights between November and April,
at which time the beach is patrolled by Park rangers.
For conservation and protection purposes, most of the
eggs are removed by staff to a nursery. Incubation takes
60 days, after which time the youngsters are released
naturally back into the Andaman Sea.
The particular releasing in March is designed to
heighten people's awareness of the declining numbers of
nesting females and promote conservation efforts.