3 Thai Festivals Not To Miss!

Today’s post was written by Jeremy from The World or Bust.

While many people that book a holiday for Thailand are seeking out the warm, bright sunshine that tropical climes offer, this fiercely proud nation also has more than its share of cultural attractions.  Whether you are planning a trip to Thailand through a travel agent, or are simply content to handle the details yourself, it helps to be aware of the many festivals that take place in Thailand throughout the year.  Experiencing these holidays allows an easy and convenient way to gain an insight on Thai culture, so it is highly recommended that you attempt to catch at least one of the three festivals that Are described for you below.  Let’s learn about these fun holidays, starting with…

1) Yee Peng

640px-Yi_peng_sky_lantern_festival_San_Sai_Thailand

Photo credit; Wikipedia user Takeaway

Being a celebration that involves releasing paper lanterns into the sky en masse, Yee Peng is a festival centred on Chiang Mai that photographers and awe-struck individuals shouldn’t miss for the world.  Done to promote the letting go of one’s negative thoughts and regrets, it is also a time of spiritual cleansing for many Thais.  In addition to the lanterns, floating lanterns called krathongs are also released on rivers, and many fireworks are shot off into the sky in a jubilant celebration, creating an atmosphere that will you remember long after your vacation has ended. Yee Peng is observed during the full moon of the 12th lunar month in the Thai calendar, which usually falls in the month of November.

2) Songkran

songkran festival

Photo credit; JJ Harrison

Held as a festival that was traditionally meant to wash one’s spirit of bad influences, Songkran has become Thailand’s biggest water fight.  Conveniently held during the hottest portion of the year in early to mid-April, whole streets in the nation’s biggest cities are closed off, as private citizens and government watering trucks alike douse each other with ice cold water and talc-based powder, the latter of which is supposed to bring blessings in the year ahead. In Bangkok, Khao San Road becomes an all-out water war zone, with buckets of alcohol being drunk between being soaked by bigger buckets of H2O!

3) Tesagan Gin Je

Tesagan Gin Je, better known as the Vegetarian Festival among foreigners, is one of the holiest times of the year for those of Thai-Chinese descent.  During the nine day duration of the festival, practitioners of Taoism consume no animal products, leading to a buffet of veggie/vegan friendly foods being laid out for celebrants and travelers seeking excellent vegetarian/vegan cuisine.  Another facet of this intriguing time of year is the solemnity of those that pierce themselves with various implements, inflicting pain upon themselves to please and placate the gods.  Of all the places to participate in this event, Phuket has the biggest observance of this festival in the entire country, with 35% of its population identifying as Thai Chinese.

While there are many more festivals waiting to be discovered whenever you happen to visit Thailand, the celebrations listed above are the ones you should make an effort to partake in if you have the chance to do so.  This way, you can have the time of your life on vacation, while gaining an appreciation for this fascinating countries’ culture at the same time.

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3 Responses to “3 Thai Festivals Not To Miss!”

  1. Colin says:

    All 3 sound awesome! Makes me want to go to Thailand now!

  2. Heather says:

    I got to attend the Loy Krathong festival in Chiang Mai and it was magical! I unfortunately missed the mass release for Yee Peng so I’ll have to go back 🙂

  3. Coby Smith says:

    OMG I need to be at these festivals. But with the current coup situation maybe more people will head to Myanmar?… Found a piece with more on the rich culture and heritage for fellow travellers – http://www.travelindochina.com/blog-articles/welcome-to-burma – may be of interest.

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