In this article, I would highlight the seasons, festivals and celebrations in Thailand based on the months. This is based on my experience of visiting Thailand for many years and now staying here. I am inspired as I reflect back on the artistic drawings of a past year table desktop calendar that I bought.
Last year, I bought a desktop calendar designed by Cordial Delight (cordiald.com) under the Chick and Chill series. I made a video to share the past year design in this video as it is an interesting fusion of East and West. At one glance, it would look like any typical English calendar based on the modern cute design.
However at a closer look, there is a representation of Thai culture and/or festivals in certain months…..an interesting fusion of East and West. For example, in the month of April, the drawing represents Songkran, Thai new year, and in November, it is Loy Krathong. March and July highlights the season which is hot and rainy seasons respectively.
The calendar had been very useful as I used it to jot down important appointments and reminders. I made this Shorts as I felt it is such a pity that as the year had passed, no one would be able to see the designs…… so I wish to share this with the world and at the same time highlight the subtle season/ celebrations drawn in the calendar. You can also checkout their website, cordiald.com as it also contained a free pdf catalogue that you can download.
Below is a Shorts video I have made to showcase the creative graphics in the calendar, followed by the brief summary of the Thailand I love and visit by month:
Months highlight in Thailand
As mentioned, below is the highlights of the months in Thailand…. again this is based on my own experience and words. Please note it may differ a lot from you personal experience or those who you who are visiting/staying in Thailand.
While Christmas is not a public holiday in Thailand, New Year’s Day (1st January) is. Many would use it as a time for renewal and celebration. Personally for me, what I love about the beginning of the year is the various diaries, calendars and planners available from bookstores such as B2S and SE-ED. For many years, I would be in Thailand to be able to purchase a Thai calendar and creative planner. I’ve bought dated diaries from Thailand which were useful for me to stay on top of the endless flowing tasks in my previously demanding job (I’ve written an article on how I use the dated diary). Because by end of February, calendars and dated planners/diares would generally be withdraw from bookstores.
Weather is usually still a little cooling, even though not as cool as November/December but nevertheless is still relatively pleasant.
Chinese New Year usually falls around end January/ February. The dates differ each year according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Similar to Christmas, there is no public holiday for Chinese New Year….. so government offices, banks and hospitals are open as usual.
During Chinese New Year, the festive season can be felt very strongly in Yaowarat (Bangkok Chinatown). I remember one year I was in Chinatown around Chinese New Year and the place is so alive and crowded with various CNY items, tourists, food and shopping. Yaowarat is busy the whole year but the decorations and festive mood is very much alive before, during and slightly after CNY.
Usually in countries that celebrate Chinese New Year, it is a public holiday and many businesses shut down during that period. CNY reunion dinner is a very important aspect of the Chinese culture (it is similar to Thanksgiving in the West) where families gather together to have a meal together. During the olden days, reunion dinners are always held at home but now with modern convenience, many families would book the Chinese restaurants for the reunion. The price is exorbitant and many who prepared and serve the food consist of those who could not go back to their families or hometowns during CNY and had to work.
Whereas in Thailand, because it is not a public holiday, you can walk in to any restaurant or shops and would not feel the tinge of sadness in the staff or workers because even though CNY is celebrated by the Chinese community in Thailand, all along it is not considered a holiday like Songkran is.
Starting from March (sometimes in February as well), the weather would gradually become hotter and hotter without much rain. The weather would remain as such all the way till July. During this time, trips to highlands are often not planned because of the hot dry weather which sometimes may cause forest fires because weather is just too dry and hot. Many would retreat to beachside like Pattaya and Chaam or just go for shopping within the air conditioned confines of shopping complexes.
Songkran, the Thai New Year falls almost on 13 April each year and last till about 16 April. During this time, government offices are closed and so are certain businesses. Certain venues would plan out water splashing activities during Songkran and during this period tourists are advised to bring change of clothings (wrapped in plastic bag for protection) as they may get splashed while walking around.
Thailand is a Buddhist country and Visakha or Wesak Day would fall usually in May (sometimes it may be during early June). During this time, there are many activities organized around temples including religious activities and the compound of some temples are occupied by vendors during that time selling various items.
Around July, there may be more rain which is very often very much welcomed after months of hot weather.
While shopping complex may be selling Halloween decorations, it is usually done in a relatively small scale as Halloween is not really actively celebrated in Thailand.
Moving towards year end, the weather is transitioning towards a colder weather, with still some rain occassionally. Highlands would be active with both local and tourist to enjoy the transitioning cool weather which would last all the way till end December/ January.
The highlight of the month is Loy Krathong. During that time, many would release floats and offerings down the river/sea, as well as paper laterns which floats blissfully up the air. I was in Chiang Mai years ago around Loy Krathong and I would be able to see laterns released up the air around the festival.
For floats, some temples and sellers sold floats that are made of bread. Usually if possible, we would try to buy the float made from bread because while the float is being released to the river or sea, it would be able to serve as food for the fishes.
Shopping complexes like Central and those around tourist areas would usually have elaborate Christmas decorations around Christmas. While Christmas is not a public holiday in Thailand, one can still feel the festivity of the season. Around November and December it is when many stores have huge sales and deep discounts.
The above is based on my experience in Thailand. Everyone who visits Thailand would have a unique experience because there is so much to see, buy and places to visit depending on one’s interest, purpose and reason.
Welcome to Thailand.