Festivals & Major Events
Festivals & Major Events
New Year’s Day.
Pattaya International Music Festival. March. One of the most notable events of Pattaya is the Pattaya Music Festival. Music lovers gather in this event held on the beach. Rock, pop, jazz, hip-hop, country bands convivially entertain their audience. There are stalls of record companies and film production houses and musical instruments. CDs and music magazines are also on sales.
Pattaya Festival. Mid-April. The Pattaya Festival has floral floats, a Miss Pattaya Beauty contest, traditional aquatic sports competitions, castles, a fireworks display, fire crackers, arts and cultural performances, exhibitions and souvenirs for sale.
Fruit Festival. May. The delightful fruit festival generally held in May featuring fruits from Chonburi and neighbouring provinces in the eastern region which is well-known for its various types, succulent taste and quality of the fruits such as durian, mango, mangosteen, longan, rambutan and many more. The festival also displays car parade decorated with different fruits, fruit competition, beauty pageant, fruit stalls and agricultural exhibition.
Pattaya Marathon July. The participants can choose to run in three categories; full marathon (42.195 km), half marathon (21.10 km), quarter marathon (10.55 km), wheelchair marathon and student marathon. This event is recognised internationally with participants from all over the world and the numbers increase every year. All ages and nationalities are welcome.
Buffalo Races. October. This unique buffalo races is held annually in October only in Chonburi province. Farmers will decorate their buffaloes beautifully with flower garland, colourful clothes, ornaments and are brought to parade the festival. This event is to honour the buffaloes after farming. Apart from the race which is the main attraction for local Thais, there is also beauty pageant for best decorated and healthiest buffaloes as well as for ladies.
Pattaya Vegetarian Festival. October., Pattaya City hold the 11-day vegetarian festival featuring large amounts of vegetarian food and a grand procession carrying two statues of Chinese deities — Kiew Uang Huk Jo and Kuanyin Bodhisattava. The procession will march the city and end at Sawang Boribun Dhamma Sathan. Participants should dress in white.
It’s not only the day Gautama Buddha was born though, but it includes his whole life; his birth, enlightenment and death.
Also known as Vesak, Buddha’s birthday is celebrated in various days, depending on the calendar used by a particular country. In Thailand, where Buddhism is the major form of religion, Buddha’s birthday frequently falls on a May except in the leap year where it falls on June.
Approximately 95% of Thailand’s population is Buddhist of Therevada School of the Southern Buddhism, similar to that of Sri Lanka. It is estimated that the religion reached Thailand during the 3rd Century B.C., the same time when Emperor Asoka of Japan propagated its beliefs. The rest of the 5% in Thai population are mostly Muslims and Christians.
Buddha is considered as a great philosopher and teacher. His teachings widely spread Asia, particularly India and South Asia. Buddhism is not focused on gods and goddesses as most religions do; rather, it is focused on man and his life. Life, according to Buddha, is pain and suffering caused by craving and worldly desires. He said that agony will only end once desire ceases, until one achieves nirvana or the enlightenment.
Buddhism, because of its existence in the country for centuries, is deeply rooted in Thailand’s culture. From religion to customs and even to architecture, Buddhism is very dominant in the Thai nation. Like other Buddhist countries, the religion is represented by monks (some in yellow robes) who serve as the officiator on various ceremonies and occasions.
Vesak is the holiest day of Thai Buddhism. The monks and nuns all over the Kingdom of Thailand will chant rituals and the ancient rules of their orders. Some lay people, offer flowers and various offerings on the temples where they can also meditate and listen to monks’ discussions. There will usually be candlelight processions at night as part of their religious practices.
Celebrations in temples are a solemn and contemplating day, while other places celebrate it the modern way’ there are festivals, parades and parties like other Thai holidays. Streets will be covered with garlands and lanterns, including Buddha’s images.
In Wat Yai Chaimongkon, just outside the old city of Ayutthaya, celebration will start in the morning. Images surrounding the courtyard will be wrapped in new golden robes, including the large central tower or cedhi. Thousands of people usually visit the temple and go around it three times to give gratitude.
The Chinese New Year:
or “Trut Chin” in Thai, is a day of thanksgiving and a time for family reunion. It started when the Chinese migrated in the Ayuttaha period in 1350 to 1767 A.D. It is an important day for the Thais and can be compared to the Christian celebration of Christmas.
The occasion is one of the most exciting events in Thailand. It is celebrated on the first day of the Chinese lunar month, usually February, just like the other Chinese-influenced countries. It is believed to be the start of spring, when the weather is excellent, when it is best to grow crops. Trut Chin is the time to pay honor and worship to the gods and ancestors for the good crops and harvests.
Dragons, which are believed to be divine and mythical creatures by the Chinese, represent good fortune and prosperity while lions are the symbol of courage and solidity.
Although the event is observed nationwide, the celebration in the Nakhon Sawan province is the biggest because it lasts for 11 grand days. Usually there are stunning acrobatic performances like pole climbing and trapeze. Food and other incredible Thai and Chinese delicacies are also an attraction in the festival.
Father’s Day (wan Chalerm):
Is celebrated every second week of June in most countries, Father’s Day in Thailand just like Mother’s Day, is observed during the birthday of their monarch, King Rama IX or Wan Chalem; on the 5th December
Born Bhumibol Adulyadej, His Majesty became the King of Thailand on June 9, 1946 after the death of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol. He is now the longest serving monarch in the world, born in 1927 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He later on finished his studies in Switzerland and formally crowned as king May 5, 1950.
However, in 1948, the King met an accident. He hit the back of a truck that cost him his right eyesight. But from this accident he met and won his Queen—the daughter of Thai ambassador to France at that time—and helped him to recover from the misfortune.
His Majesty King has a very crucial role in Thai politics, especially Thailand’s transition to democracy in the 1990’s. He is loved and honored by many Thais because of his immersion with Thais’ poorest communities back when he was younger. He is considered as ‘inviolable’ and deemed as ‘almost divine’.
His Majesty King’s birthday celebration is a three-in-one festivity: his birthday, Thailand’s national day and Father’s day. December 5 is considered as the biggest event of the year where people break from their everyday routines and celebrate the day of the King, the heart and soul of Thailand.
Buildings and houses all over the country are decorated with flags, photographs of His Majesty and other embellishments—mostly color yellow—the color of the King. The center of the celebration is in the Royal residence, around the Grand Palace and the Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok.
The preparation for the holiday starts weeks before the day itself. Thousands of golden marigolds and colorful lights beautify the streets. There will be parades and exhibits around the capital city, Bangkok, in honor of His Majesty King’s life.
December 5 is also a bank holiday, all banks and establishments are closed to give way to the celebration. Some main streets to the Palace, like the Ratchadamnoen and Sanam Luang, are also closed because of the people celebrating and also the traffic. The main party commences at night where a big picture of His Majesty King will be paraded along the venue as scenic firework displays light up the sky with people rejoicing for the day of their King.
The delightful Loy Krathong Festival, celebrated nation-wide on the full moon night in November. The float or krathong is made of banana-leaf and is filled with incense sticks, flowers, a lighted candle and small coins, once completed and the candles and incense are alight it is floated into the sea or on the river, while the sky is awash with hot air lanterns, it is then when Thai people will as ask for good luck in the future and forgiveness Pra Mae Khongkha.
The original festival was thought to be it used for worshipping the foot-print of Buddha at Nammathanati River beach in Thakkhinabodh district, India.
Mother’s day (Wan Mae):
In Thailand is not celebrated during May as in many other countries but it is celebrated every 12th of August to mark the birthday of the queen, Her Majesty Queen Sikrit, Queen Regent of Thailand.
Born Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara in 1932, Her Majesty Queen has been revered by the Thais through her enduring charity work since the 1950’s. Being a Queen, she also promoted acceptance and tolerance to the local Muslim minorities in Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat, the southernmost provinces of Thailand. She is also adored for her humanitarian efforts in the tsunami disaster in 2004, making her very popular among the masses. Her Majesty Queen is venerated in the country’s provinces not only because of her compassion and goodwill, but they also deemed the monarchy as semi-divine, because of this love for the royal highness, Thais made her birthday a national holiday where people celebrate Her Majesty Queen Sirikit as a mother of the people of Thailand, and at the same time, pay tribute and honour to everybody’s own mothers. The event is also known as “Wan Mae” or literally Mother’s day. Preparations start weeks before August 12. Houses will be decorated with the portrait of Her Majesty Queen, while people and various organizations will raise national flags at their homes and offices all over the Kingdom of Thailand. Lanterns, garlands, and colourful lights brighten up the streets her array of portraits is displayed.
Mother’s day in Thailand is also a time for family reunions and gatherings. The day usually will start with children giving alms to the monks. They will go to their mothers afterwards (even grandmothers and aunts); offering them a garland of flowers with a letter telling how important they are in their lives. Typically, a child will kneel in front of the mother, kissing the back of their hands while on top of their mother’s feet or what Thais called as “krub”.
A spectrum of activities is also lined up throughout the day. In Bangkok, parades are all around the city. Fireworks displays add up to the beauty of the festivity, along with the rich and vibrant colors of street lights. The heart of the celebration is near the Grand Palace in Sanam Luang, north of the Royal Residence.
Hotels and airlines are fully booked at this time of the year, just like the other national holidays. Tourists from around the world flock to Thailand to witness the grand celebration of Her Majesty Queen’s birthday and how Thais celebrate their “Wan Mae”. So if you want to see how festive Thailand is every Mother’s Day, better book early to avoid the hassle of last minute decisions.
Songkran is the Thai New Year, Mid –April, celebrated primarily by everyone throwing prodigious quantities of water at anything that moves. Pattaya officially celebrates Songkran on later dates (April 18-19) than most of the rest of the country (April 13-15) – but in reality the fun just starts early and keeps on going that much longer. During this period many hotels and guest houses have high occupancy levels, and public transport services (especially buses to/from Bangkok) are very busy, with more frequent than normal departures but also with appreciable delays due to the general mayhem on the roads. Songkran in Pattaya follows the same overall pattern as seen elsewhere in Thailand, but is especially vigorous in areas such as Soi 7 and Soi 8. Expect to get very wet indeed and you’re unlikely to be disappointed – regardless of where you go or what else you actually plan to do. Although things calm down considerably after dusk, it’s still worth keeping anything that could easily be damaged (especially cameras, mobile telephones, passports etc.) in plastic bags.