Festival Thailand: Thai festival and public holiday in Thailand.
Festival Thailand : Thai festival, public holiday and national holiday in Thailand information by, EscapeThailand.com

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Calendar and Festivals

Public Holidays 2007 | Full Moon Party 2007 | Thai Festivals

Public Holidays 2007
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Feb 8 Magha Bucha Day
April 6 Chakri Memorial Day Commemorates King Rama I
April 13-15 Songkran and Family Day (Thai New Year)
May 1 Labor Day
May 4 Royal Ploughing Ceremony
May 5 Coronation Day
May 7 Visakha Bucha
July 1 Mid-year Day Bank holiday only
July 5 Asahala Puja Day
July 6 Khao Phansa Day (Buddhist Lent Day)
Aug 12 HM The Queen's Birthday
Oct. 23 Chulalongkorn Day
Dec. 5 HM The King's Birthday
Dec. 10 Constitution Day
Dec. 31 New Year's Eve
Full Moon Party 2007
April 2nd Monday
May 1st Tuesday
June 1st Friday
June 29th Friday
July 31st Tuesday
Aug 28th Tuesday
Sep 26th Wednesday
Oct 26th Friday
Nov 24th Saturday
Dec 24th Monday
Popular Islands for Full Moon Party are Kho Pangan, Kho Tao, Kho Chang and Koh Samet.
Thai Festivals

All things wet and wonderful
Definitely the wettest, most exuberant of Thai celebrations, Songkran is a time to douse thoroughly anything or anyone within reach. Coinciding with the old Thai New Year on April 13, this national holiday prompts nation-wide celebrations lasting three days.

It is a time of merit making, beauty competitions, and good-natured water throwing. Songkran is a charmingly uninhibited celebration, a time to invoke good luck (in terms of plentiful water supply) for the coming rainy season. And in these hot summer temperatures, what could be more sensible than a cooling splash of water? The tradition began, however, as a far more polite and respectful affair.

Scented water was gently tipped on to the shoulder of passers-by as a new year greeting. Later it "developed" into its present form, especially in Chiang Mai, where bowlfuls of water are tossed on everyone, and multi-colored plastic water guns abound. It's a time for wearing casual, quick-drying clothes because you are guaranteed to get wet if you venture out, and indeed, it is considered an honor to be soaked. It's not only human beings that get splashed. Buddha images get their fair share of drenching, too, although for them it's a gentler ritual. Mounted high on flower-adorned floats, the images are paraded outside their temple homes for their annual dousing. Jasmine-scented water is gently thrown from small cups over the images in a display of respect and reverence. This takes place on the second day of Songkran, and it is accompanied by joyful dancing and drumming. In northern provinces many wear the traditional dark blue of the farming people to symbolize the agrarian roots of the region. Jasmine flowers abound in the form of fragrant white garlands and hair decoration. In Bangkok, festivities begin with the parading of the Phra Buddha Sighing on the grounds outside the Grand Palace. Soon everyone is wet. Khon Kaen is another interesting place to be at this time with its floral float processions and north-eastern folk entertainment. Songkran is also a time for the lovely ceremony called Rot Nam Dam Hua, in which younger people bathe the hands of their elders in scented water and ask forgiveness for any misdeeds. The elders respond with blessings and advice to their juniors.

Loy Krathong

The festival of lights
Beneath a full November moon, waterways and houses glow with candlelight, wishes are made, and the sins of the year are ritually washed away. This is the country's most picturesque celebration: Loy Krathong, the "festival of lights".

Gates and doorways are festooned with palm leaves and colorful paper lanterns. The evening hours are filled with the crack and whiz of fireworks, and every river, pond, and gully sparkles with countless tiny points of light. People gather in their thousands beside the khlongs and rivers. With a silent prayer they carefully place their krathongs (banana-leaf floats) in the water and release them to the current.

Freighted with flowers, incense, and one or more lit candles, the floats drift silently downstream. People watch intently, hoping that the candle will not go out. Its flame is said to signify longevity, fulfillment of wishes and release from sins. It is a moving sight-the hopes and dreams of an entire city drifting gently to their destination. Loy Krathong is very much a time to reflect deeply on the mystery of our journey through life and the joy of shared traditions. The releasing of a krathong to the river is also a gesture of respect to the river goddess Mae Kong Ka. It is in part a thanksgiving for her bounty in providing water for livelihood and agriculture, and in part a plea for forgiveness for having polluted her waters. One of the most significant and historic Loy Krathong celebrations in the kingdom is held in Sukhothai, with a spectacular light-and-sound show.

In Chiang Mai, the largest krathongs are the decorated floats carried on trucks in procession. Prepared by local organizations and adorned with thousands of flowers in exquisite designs, the colorfully lit floats form a long, glittering parade as they make their way to the river. Perched high in the magnificent floral displays are beautiful women dressed in traditional costume. The floats are later judged, and prizes are awarded. Ayutthaya and Tak are also famed for their elaborate Loy Krathong celebrations.

Meanwhile, up above thousands of khom loy (floating lanterns) drift up into the night sky. These large balloon-like lanterns are released at temples and sometimes from private homes in the hope that misfortune flies away with them.

Kao Phansa

End of the rains retreat
Months of rains and cloudy skies have passed. Flatlands are now a tapestry of waterlogged rice paddies, and beneath a full October moon people celebrate the end of Buddhist lent. Special offerings of food and other gifts are made to the monks in a typically Thai display of pageantry and splendor.

There is every reason to celebrate. Legend has it that Lord Buddha once retreated to heaven during the rainy months and preached to his mother who had died seven days after his birth. After some months the sky opened and the king of heaven, along with his angels, constructed a triple stairway of gold, silver, and precious gems to link his domain to earth. 

Down one stairway came an escort of angels, down another the monks who had followed the Buddha to the heavens, and down the center came Lord Buddha himself. At the foot he was welcomed with great joy and presented with food by his followers.

These days many temple gatherings like to commemorate this legendary descent by placing a Buddha image in a decorated cart and bringing it ceremoniously down from a low hill. People line the route and place offerings of food in a large alms bowl placed before the image. Monks follow in procession, also with alms bowls.

The monks themselves have effectively had three months of retreat. Forbidden from moving far from their temple residence during the rains, they are encouraged to use the time to pursue their scripture studies and meditation. The custom dates back to bygone times when roads were virtually non-existent, and travel by foot or oxcart would be greatly hampered in the rainy season by mud and by floods.

After the rains, when the monks "descend" once more into their more outward responsibilities they are presented with new robes and other gifts in a ceremony called Thot Kathin which takes place in the succeeding days after lent. The ceremony links the whole country in a month of merit-making and shared support for the temples. Much entertainment and merry-making accompany the presentations. Music and feasting feature highly, and a procession accompanies the kathin robes, which may be borne on a decorated cart, by boat, or even on the back f an elephant.

Many provinces have their own unique way of celebrating the month of Thot Kathin. Nan province is particularly famous for its Lanna boat races, Nakhon Phanom celebrates with intricately decorated boats each containing lighted candles and set a drift on the Mekong River. North easterners celebrate this time by offering decorative beeswax creations in the form of Buddhist temples and shrines.