Public Holidays

Public holidays in Thailand

Parts of the Thai calendar are based on the Gregorian calendar. Nevertheless, there are isolated holidays that are calculated according to the original Thai lunisolar calendar. In addition, some holidays are determined individually each year not only according to astronomy, but also astrological aspects.

Christian festivals, such as Christmas, are well known in Thailand and are also celebrated in large cities — but for exclusively for social reasons rather than religious reasons.

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Non-floating holidays

Non-statutory holidays are written in gray.

Jan. 1stNew Year's Day
April 6thWan Chakri Memorial Day
April 13thSongkran (Thai New Year)
May 1stLabor Day
May 5thCoronation day
July 1stMid-year holiday
July 28thBirthday of King Vajiralongkorn
Aug. 15thMother's Day (Queen's birthday)
Oct. 23rdAnniversary of the death of King Chulalongkorn
Dec. 5thFather's Day (birthday of King Bhumibol)
Dec. 10thConstitution Day
Dec. 25thChirstmas
Dec. 31stNew Year's Eve

Moving Holidays in Thailand

Chinese New Years FestivalJan. 22ndFeb. 10thJan. 29thFeb. 17thFeb. 6th
Makha BuchaFeb. 5thFeb. 24thFeb. 12thMarch 3rdFeb. 21st
Visakha BuchaMay 5thMay 23rdMay 12thMay 1stMay 20th
Asalha PujaJuly 3rdJuly 21stJuly 11thJuly 29thJuly 18th
Ok PhansaOct. 29thOct. 17thOct. 7thOct. 26thOct. 15th

Moving holidays with (so far and for us) uncalculatable dates:

First ploughing ceremonyFirst half of May, determined by Brahmin astrologers
Khao Phansa1st day of the waning moon in the 8th lunar month, usually in July
Sat Thailast new moon day in the 10th lunar month, usually in September
Donation day Thot KathinEnd of the three-month rainy season exam, usually in November
Loi Krathong (Festival of Lights)Full moon in the 12th lunar month, usually in November

The Thai Lunisolar Calendar

Public Holidays The historical Thai calendar is basically a lunar calendar, according to which the beginning of a month is always based on a new moon. A month therefore has about 29.53 days. So that a month does not end in the middle of the day, the length of a month varies, as in most cases, but alternately 29 or 30 days. In the seventh month, this rule is reversed, so that the seventh month always has as many days as the sixth month. This also changes the number of days in all equal months of the following year:

Days 1st year293029302930302930293029
Days 2nd year302930293029293029302930

In order to consider the course of the sun, complex calculations are used to insert a leap day or even a whole leap month every few years. The eight month of a year is simply doubled. A year thus does not always 12 months, but is also 354, 355 or 384 days long. This alone makes it difficult to map the beginning of the year to the Greogian calendar.

The holidays calculated according to this lunar calendar are Makha Bucha, Visakha Bucha, Asalha Puja, Khao Phansa, Sat Thai, Ok Phansa, the Kathin ceremony and Loi Krathong. Most of these ceremonies are held during full moon, only Sat Thai is celebrated on the day of the new moon. Since 1888, this calendar system has only been used to calculate holidays. Except for the year, the Thai calendar has corresponded to the Gregorian calendar since then.

Songkran, the Thai New Year festival

The Thai calendar is very complex, even for Thais themselves. On the other hand, the celebration of the beginning of new year has nothing to do with the beginning of the first month on the calendar, but with the equinox in spring, i.e., the equinox of day and night, where day and night have about the same length. For the sake of simplicity, this festival is always set to the three days, beginning on April 13th.
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