Public Holidays

Public holidays in Thailand

Parts of the Thai calendar are based on the Gregorian calendar, which we also know in Germany. Nevertheless, there are isolated holidays which are calculated according to the original Thai lunisolar calendar. In addition, some holidays are determined individually each year not only according to astronomical, but even astrological aspects.

Christian festivals such as Christmas are well known in Thailand and are also celebrated in large cities - but not for Christian reasons, but exclusively for social reasons.

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Non-movable 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 FestivalFeb. 1stJan. 22ndFeb. 10thJan. 29thFeb. 17th
Makha BuchaFeb. 16thFeb. 5thFeb. 24thFeb. 12thMarch 3rd
Visakha BuchaMay 16thMay 5thMay 23rdMay 12thMay 1st
Asalha PujaJuly 13thJuly 3rdJuly 21stJuly 11thJuly 29th
Ok PhansaOct. 10thOct. 29thOct. 17thOct. 7thOct. 26th

Movable 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 in its basic features 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 our case - but alternately 29 or 30 days. In the 7th month this rule is reversed, so that the 7th month always has as many days as the 6th 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 additionally 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 8th month of a year is simply doubled. A year has thus not always 12 months, but is also times 354, 355 or 384 days long. This alone makes it difficult to convert the beginning of the year into our 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 on full moon, only Sat Thai is celebrated on the day of the new moon. Since 1888 this calendar system is only used to calculate holidays. Except for the year, the Thai calendar since then corresponds to the Gregorian calendar.

Songkran, the Thai New Year festival

The Thai calendar is very complex even for today's Thais themselves. On the other hand, the celebration of the beginning of New Year has nothing to do with the calendar beginning of the 1st month, 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 3 days from April 13th.
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