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Fixed and Movable Public Holidays & Observances, Descriptions

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About Thai Calendars & Dates

Thai Calendars often reflect a date that is based on the Buddhist dating system. The reference point is Lord Buddha's birth 543 before Jesus Christ. To convert a date from the Buddhist to the Gregorian calendar subtract the number 543.

In Thailand, where the Thai solar calendar is used, the months and days have adopted the western standard, although the years are still based on the traditional Buddhist calendar.

The Thai lunar calendar does not mark the beginning of a new year when it starts a new 1-to-12 count, which occurs most frequently in December.

The Thai solar calendar determines a person's legal age, and secular holidays, including the civil new year as well as the three days of the traditional Thai New Year's feast. Should holidays fall on a weekend, it also accommodates these as well as some of the Principal lunar festivals with a compensatory day off

source Wikipedia

Fixed Public Holidays

Thailand Fixed Holidays
Date Holiday
01 January details New Year's Day
06 April details Chakri Day
01 May details National Labor Day (banks only)
05 May details Coronation Day (since 1950)
01 July details Mid Year Closing Day (banks only)
12 August details H.M. the Queen's Birthday (also Mothers' Day)
23 October details Chulalongkorn Day
05 December details H.M. the King's Birthday (also Father's Day)
10 December details Constitution Day
31 December details New Year's Eve
Holidays falling on a Saturday or Sunday are observed by banks on the following Monday, but not by the Government. This includes the moveable holidays. Nowadays many businesses and offices also follow the same observances as banks.

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Moveable Public Holidays

Moveable Public Holidays
Date Holiday
non-fixed details Asarnha Bucha (government only)
non-fixed details Chinese New Year (unofficial, Chinese community mainly)
non-fixed details Khao Phansa (Start of Buddhist Lent)
non-fixed details Loy Krathong
non-fixed details Awk Phansa (End of Buddhist Lent)
non-fixed details Makha Bucha
non-fixed details Songkran
non-fixed details Royal Ploughing Ceremony (government only)
non-fixed details Vaisakh Bucha

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Non-Holiday Observances

Non-Holiday Observances
Date Observance
2nd Saturday in January details Children's Day
16 January details Teachers' Day (schools close)
25 January details Thai Army Day
24 September details Mahidol Day
25 November details Primary Education Day
25 December details Christmas Day

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Holidays Listed by the Month

Holidays Listed by the Month
Holiday Holiday Information
New Year's Day
For the last several decades, the western-style New Year's day has been observed as a public holiday day in Thailand, but the traditional and most popular New Year's day for Thai people is celebrated in April and is called "SONGKRAN".
Children's Day
During this day local festivals and activities are organized by the children and adults often make special gifts to children on this day. Children are highly respected in Thailand, the respect so great that in a bus an adult will often gives his seat to a child (but not to an elderly person). Children's Day is always celebrated on the second Saturday in January.
Teacher's Day
This day is an occasion for pupils to make merit for their teachers. Teachers are highly respected, even worshipped, in Thailand for their knowledge. Pupils do not dare to embarrass their teachers by actions like asking questions.
Thai Army Day
On this day, The King visits the Army and is honored with military parades.
Chinese New Year
On the day before the Chinese New Year's Day, Thai people with Chinese roots start to make offerings to gods, their ancestors, the God of Land and the God of Luck. Offerings include steamed duck, chicken, pork heads, fresh or canned fruit, Chinese cakes (often with durian) and vegetarian food. Chinese flowers ("DOK MAI CHIN") and golden paper are also offered.

On the Chinese New Year's day, family members visit each other and give each other money red envelopes called "ANG PAO". These envelopes contain money. On this day, Chinese restaurants are very busy because all families are going out.

For Chinese New Year's Day parades with big dragons happen. When the dragon pass by stores, the owner often sets off thousands of firecrackers to "ask for good luck" in business. These firecrackers can be very long (2-5 meters) taking many minutes to finish. Protect your ears!!
Makha Bucha Day
This day is a religious public holiday. It came from the day when 1,250 disciples from the Lord Buddha gathered to listen for the Dharma speech after Buddha's enlightenment. Merit making ceremonies take place at temples, while at night candlelit processions walk three times around the temple; one time for the Lord Buddha, one time for the Sangha - Buddhist monk community, and one time for the Dharma - Buddhist teachings.
MARCH (no public holidays this month)
Chakri Day
This day commemorates the Chakri dynasty. The current King is the ninth King of the Chakri dynasty. A Royal ceremony is performed by the King to pay respects to King Rama I the Great, the founder of the Chakri Dynasty. As Chakri day happens on a Saturday, the following Monday 8th is also a public holiday.
Songkran is the New Year's Day in ancient celebrations, and probably the most popular holiday of the year. The "SONGKRAN" festival takes place during the hot season in the first half of April and is celebrated with the "throwing" of water, cleaning of Bhuda statues, and paying respect to the older members of the community. Songran is often a 3-day festival but often much longer in the north of Thailand. This festival is celebrated in all Buddhist "THEREVADA" countries like Thailand, Lao, Cambodia and Burma. During Songkran most local stores and businesses are closed and traffic can be very congested. Everyone gets wet, including police on duty, so protect your cameras and anything you don't want wet.
National Labor Day (banks closed)
The first day of May is a public holiday commemorating the work force of Thailand.
Coronation Day
This public holiday is a day to commemorate the coronation of King Rama IX. If Coronation day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is also a public holiday.
Royal Ploughing Day
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is performed every year by Brahmanic priests. This event happens in the front of the famous Bangkok temple "WAT PHRA KAEW" on the large open field called "SANAM LUANG". This ceremony symbolizes the beginning of the sowing period. Brahmin priests bless seeds and make symbolic furrows using a plough pulled by buffaloes. Once the ceremony is over, all the watching people run to the furrows in order to get the blessed seeds. These seeds are supposed to bring good harvests.
Vaisakh Bucha Day
This day is a religious event that commemorates the birth, the enlightenment and the death (entry into the nirvana) of Buddha. Temples through the country are crowded with people listening to sermons about Dharma (Buddha's teaching) and in the evening there is a candlelit procession around the main building of the temple containing the Buddha statues. As Vaisakh Bucha day happens on a Sunday, the following Monday is also a public holiday.
JUNE (no public holidays this month)
Mid Year Closing Day
This day signifies the midpoint of the banking year. All banks are closed and most businesses are open.
Asarnha Bucha Day
This day, which is a religious event, happens one day just before the Buddhist Lent day. This day commemorates the first sermon of Buddha to his five first disciples. One of them asked for being a monk. So this day is sacred because it deals with Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. There are also candlelit processions.
Khao Phansa (Buddhist Lent)
This day is a religious event. It is the beginning of the Buddhist rain retreat which last three months. During this period monks are not allowed to sleep outside their temple. During these three months there are no important feasts in Thailand. Even traditional Thai marriage are not happening during this period because there are no monks at the ceremony.
H.M. the Queen's Birthday (also Mothers' Day)
This public holiday is the day of all the mothers of Thailand. Especially the Queen, honored as the mother of all Thai people. On this day all the buildings of Thailand are covered up with symbols of the Royalty, of the King and the Queen. As the H.M The Queen's Birthday is a Sunday, the following Monday the 13th is also a public holiday.

During this day, mothers go to Thai schools. Children say little speech about their love to their mother. Then every child stand in front of his mother and greet her feet ("WAI") and say their love towards their mother.

Mahidol Day
Mahidol Day commemorating HRH Prince Mahidol of Songkhla, the father of modern Thai medicine.
End of Buddhist Lent Day
This day is a religious event. The three months rain retreat is over for monks. Monks are allowed to go out of temples. Robes offering ceremonies ("THOT KATHIN") happen everywhere in Thailand. Thai people choose temples everywhere in Thailand and bring there clothes, food for the monks. "THOT KATHIN" ceremonies last one month.
Chulalongkorn, Rama V, Day
This is a public holiday day to commemorate the Rama 5 or Chulalongkorn wise reign over Thailand. Thanks to him, Thailand did not become a French or English colony even if Thailand lost his leadership over Lao, Cambodia and the northern provinces of Malaysia. During his reign, Thailand became a modern country.
Loi Krathong Day
Loi Krathong is a religious event which happens every year on the full moon of the 12th lunar month (first full moon day of November). All Thai people buy or make a "KRATHONG". The "krathong" is made of sliced disks of banana-tree stems which are decorated with intricately shaped banana leaves and flowers with a candle, a coin and incense placed in the middle. During the evening, Thai people go to places where there is a river, a pond, or the sea to launch their "KRATHONG". In ancient times, this ceremony was to excuse one-self to the spirit of the river and to let one's sins float away. Little boys are allowed to take the coin when the candle of the krathong is out. An old proverb says that "When a boy and a girl are launching a krathong together they will be lovers this life or perhaps in their next life".
Primary Education Day
Primary Education Day is observed on the occasion of the death of King Rama VI. On July 1, 1909 King Rama VI founded the Boy Scout Organization. Boy students were asked to be boy scouts, and were trained in patriotism, to keep rules and orders, and to sacrifice onself for the benefits of the others.
H.M. the King's Birthday (also Father's Day)
This public holiday is the day of all the fathers of Thailand. Especially the King Rama IX, honored as the father of all Thai people. This day is the birthday of the current Thai King. All the buildings of Thailand are covered up with symbols of the monarchy, the King.

Each year in the evening of the 5th December, a free huge concert is organized in "SANAM LUANG", big garden in front of the "WAT PHRA KAEW" in Bangkok. It is a great honor for singers to be invited to play one song in the concert dedicated to the King. Some of them sing songs composed by the King himself. Every kind of Thai music is played such as Mor Lam, Thai country music, pop, Disco Dance and also every kind of singers from very old one to teenagers in order to give satisfaction to the crowd.

Constitution Day
Since 1932 Thailand has been a democracy and this day commemorates the Thai constitution. Before 1932, Thailand was called Siam and was under the total rule of the King. Some say that Thailand is even a better democracy since the army is far from direct power (1992). The king has still limited power, but primarily a moral power over the Thai people which worship him for all its kindness and goodness. Thailand's monarchy is like England, with no true power, a government and no president.
Christmas Day
Christmas is not officially observed in Thailand. However, in places like Patong Beach and other popular tourist destinaions Christmas is gaining a very real presence. Santa Claus hats and christmas trees are seen in increasing amounts and Christmas Eve is filled with music and fun.
New Year's Eve
This public holiday is the last day of the year and is celebrated with great fanfare, fireworks, banquets and toasts.

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