There's probably no other country that's as in touch with its culture as Thailand. You can see it in Bangkok alone—a beautiful combination of modern infrastructure and ancient temples. No matter how advances the world and the country get, the Thais stay true to their heritage, respect their religion, and preserve their culture. You'll see it best when it's a holiday here. On these special occasions, whether related to religion or history, the Thais show off just how much they love and honor their culture. And they'd even invite you to the celebrations as well! Here are some of those holidays to expect.
Magha Puja (Every February)
If the majestic temples throughout the districts of Bangkok
, all glimmering with their golden or bejeweled Buddhas, weren't enough of a sign, you ought to know that Thailand is largely a Buddhist country. And many of their religious holidays come from this peaceful faith. Many still celebrate Christmas and New Year's, yes, but for the most part, the significant religious holidays are the Buddhist ones. The earliest in the year is the Māgha Pūjā, said to be the second most important day in the Buddhist Festival. It's on this day that Buddha taught Ovada Patimokkha to 1,2500 disciples, becoming one of the first instances of Buddhist teaching in human history.
Chakri Memorial Day (April 6)
Thailand is one of the very few countries that still follow a constitutional monarchy. And because of this, a handful of their public holidays are related to the royal family, the Chakri Dynasty. One of the earliest in the year, the Chakri Memorial Day, is a perfect example of such. Commemorating the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty, the country's royal family, as well as the institution of Bangkok as the country's capital city, it's a day where most, if not all Thais celebrate the history of the royal family. It's within the country's customs to do so, more of a requirement than a mere obligation.
Songkran Festival (April 13 - 15)
While Thailand still celebrates the Gregorian New Year on January 1, they're more famous for their own New Year's celebration during mid-April. Named the 'Songkran Festival' it's the most celebratory time in the entire country? How celebratory is it? Well, in the midst of summer, people go out of their houses and partake in what is usually the biggest water fight in the world. Kids throwing water balloons at each, adults aiming water guns on their friends, it's one of the happiest times in the country, and definitely one of the most unique things to do in Thailand.
Coronation Day (May 4)
Here in Thailand, whenever a new King is crowned, the day of his coronation becomes a public holiday. And so, ever since King Maha Vajiralongkorn was crowned back on May 4, 2019, that date has since become the new 'Coronation Day.' It was first celebrated just this year on the first anniversary of the current monarch's coronation. So from here on out, this day will serve as a public holiday in the country. Previously, it was on May 5, the day the previous king, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej was crowned back in 1950.
Vesak (Every May)
Also known as 'Buddha Day' Vesak is one of the most important holidays in Thailand. It commemorates the deity himself, his humanly birth, his awakening, and ultimately, his death, As many other countries in Southeast Asia are also largely Buddhist, this is one of the very few holidays that Thailand shares with its neighboring countries. On this holiday, which is held approximately every May, sees the entire country dancing, holding processions, putting on theatrical performances, and more based on Buddha's life and legacy. You'll even see the temples of Buddha in Bangkok become crowded with monks, all in prayer, celebrating this special holiday.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Birthday Anniversary/ National Day (December 5)
While most countries' national days, such as Bastille Day in France
or the 4th of July in the US
, commemorate their independence and liberty, the national day in Thailand, at least since 2017, is a little bit different. One of their versions of 'National Day' is also called 'King Bhumibol Adulyadej Birthday Anniversary,' in remembrance of the late monarch's birthday. King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the longest-reigning monarch in the country's history, as well as one of the most beloved. His influence and significance were so important that the country has commemorated his date of birth, December 5, as a national holiday.
Constitution Day (December 10)
Another of Thailand's 'National Days' is Constitution Day, held every December 5th. Commemorating the institution of the country's first 'permanent constitution,' it's one of the most important holidays in the country. It's a historic day that most kids study in school here. Though during this holiday, they're likely off at home as school, as well as most Thai banks
, government offices and more remain closed. And while it's mostly a free day for Thais, many prominent people use this day to give important speeches or even take to the streets to protest for their causes.
Thailand is one of those countries that really showcases their culture upfront. But it's even more evident when they're celebrating or observing a special national holiday. Through these special occasions, you'll get to know more about this mysterious, exotic, yet happy country!
During any or all of these holidays, if you're observing/celebrating them in Thailand, let's hope you're doing so in a luxury rental
. It'll make the experience all the more comfortable and enjoyable!