From the Blog

March 27, 2017

Labor Day in Thailand

While the world may use this day for political flag waving, here in Thailand it is a time of dance, music and an elephant or two.

Elephants at Labor Day in Thailand


When: 1st May Annually

Where: Across the Kingdom

National Labour Day วันแรงงานแห่งชาติ (Wan Raeng Ngan Haeng Chat) Coincides with International Workers’ Day. Observed as a holiday by the Bank of Thailand and the private sector.

May Day, Labor Day, or International Workers’ Day, is a public holiday in many countries throughout the worldwide; 80 in total. (The United States, celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September).

Usually occurring around May 1st, the date varies across countries and is traditionally associated the start of spring in the northern hemisphere, it was much later in 1886 that the day was associated with a worldwide call for an 8-hour working day, as well as the celebration of workers.



Labor Day in Thailand

Here in Thailand it is a public holiday taken by private companies and banks, though not usually by all government offices and never by the shops or malls. Public sector workers have two further holidays in May; 5th May – Thailand’s Coronation Day (This has been cancelled in 2017 due to the demise of the late King), plus the ancient Royal Ploughing Ceremony in mid May, with the actual date of the later ceremony, determined by the king’s own Brahmin astrologers.  These two events in turn aren’t normally, celebrated by the private or banking sector.


The Celebrations

The Kingdom unfortunately, (dependent on how you feel about trade unions), has only 1.6 percent of its workers as members of a Trade Union, out of a work force of 37 million. (Ministry of Labour 2015).

That said this day does not go unrecognized and is celebrated across the country in most of the larger cities. The day time festivities normally consist of parades featuring marching bands, sometimes lead by magnificently dress elephants, along with its fare share of beautiful Thai women, dressed in traditional local attire. The parades will also include local businesses and state agencies, mingled with numerous other percussion bands, playing traditional lively music, associated with each provinces local cultures.


Labor Day in Thailand


Once the cacophony of sound and colour has finished the real fun can begin, with all manner of events, from traditional cultural shows, to cooking competitions and traditional Thai fun fairs, plus live music concerts that go onto late in the night.


Possibly due, to the lack of open and purely political affiliation, of the majority of Thai people, the day is normally one of blazing colour, ear shattering noise and above all simple fun.



Where in the world is this Day also celebrated

States and dependencies coloured by observance of International Workers’ Day or a different variant of May Day or Labour Day:



Labor holiday on or near 1 May


Another public holiday on 1 May, such as May Day


No public holiday on 1 May, but Labour Day on a different date


No public holiday on 1 May and no Labour Day.

Picture and Key curtsy of Wiki


For more on Festivals across Thailand for each month click on any of the Following:  JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctober




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