Thailand has one of the largest numbers of public holidays in the world. The reason is due to its large number of fun and exciting festivals. Festivals in Thailand allow tourists to not only remain an outsider but to mix and celebrate the festivals with the locals. Explore Thailand's rich culture, tradition, and heritage and be a part of it.
With the beautiful beaches and tasty food, one cannot afford to miss these festivals filled with joy and fun. Taking part in these festivals will create beautiful memories you will cherish forever. With so many great options of festivals to participate in, let's look at the most popular Thai festivals.
Songkran is also known as the water festival of Thailand. It is celebrated to start the Buddhist New Year. However, the festival holds a deeper meaning as water is associated with purification. Spraying each other with water to clear and purify all the bad thoughts and emotions symbolises a fresh start. Though it usually turns into a good intentional water fight. It is one of the most popular festivals in Thailand, where folks arm themselves with buckets, water guns, and balloons to throw water at each other. It is a great playful festival in which people of all ages participate.
Yi Peng is the lantern festival. Thousands of paper lanterns called ‘Khom Lai" are released into the sky. This results in incredible scenery all over the night sky. People gather outside to view and celebrate this festival together.
The festival is celebrated with the most enthusiasm in Chiang Mai, which was once the capital of Lanna capital. People hold music festivals and various events during the night.
The festival also contains a deeper symbolism where the lanterns symbolise pain and misfortunes, and one lets them go into the vast sky where they can disappear and extinguish.
Phi Ta Khon is also known as the ghost festival. It is one of the most unusual yet popular Thai festivals. Where people dress in ghost attire and masks and party hard all night, they also participate in various dances and games.
This festival also has a backstory. In one of Buddha's previous birth, he travelled a long journey, and everyone presumed his death. However, he returned to the kingdom, and everyone was so happy that they held a party filled with so much energy and joy that even the dead and ghosts started to participate.
Loy Krathong is also known as the festival of lights in Thailand. Hundreds of banana leaf boats filled with incense, flowers, and candles float down the rivers, canals, and lakes.
It is a way of marking the end of the rainy season, paying homage to the water goddess and asking for forgiveness for misusing the water, and in the end, letting go of past misfortunes and making good wishes for the coming year. There is also a belief that if you can see your Krathong stay alight until it disappears, the next year will bring you good luck.
Wing Kwai is also known as Buffalo Racing Festival. This festival attracts tourists worldwide for its exciting and intense buffalo race. This festival takes place in October in the Chonburi province.
Other than speculating on the buffalo race, there are other bovine activities to participate in. The place is decorated during this festival time and has a carnival-type environment with many games and food stalls.
The festival has been celebrated for over 100 years and acknowledges the hard work of buffalo in the fields.
Surin festival is the festival of elephants. Elephants have played a very vital role in Thailand. They have been important in wars, battles, transportation, and agriculture. A parade is held of more than 300 elephants where several events take place.
You would see these wild beasts do it all, from various games to dances. These elephants are used in the entertainment industry, so they cannot be abused for their strength by doing harsh labour.
Even the Hindu god Lord Ganesha is worshipped here for the same reason, and it’s not unusual to find his statues in temples.
Boong Ban Fai is known as the rocket festival in Thailand. In this festival, rockets are short up before plantation season. The whole village attends and celebrates this festival. These rockets encourage the gods in the sky to send plenty of rain so their crops can flourish.
There is a competition held for whose rocket will fly the best. If the rocket fails to launch, the owner is thrown in the mud bath. The festival is celebrated with dance, events, games, beauty, and pageants. It is a period of joy and celebration in which everyone participates.