Many of the festivals in Thailand have a religious aspect. Some festivals take place on fixed days from year to year while others, for example those relating to Buddhism, are determined by the lunar calendar. Below is an introduction to the most significant festivals and happenings.
Buddhist Religious Festivals
Visakha Bucha: Celebrating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Gautama Buddha, this is probably the holiest day of the Buddhist calendar. It takes place during the fifteenth day of the sixth lunar month (May). During the evening there is a candlelit procession around the temples.
Asalha Puja : Commemorating Buddha's first sermon, the day is celebrated by listening to sermons and giving donations. This festival takes place on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month.
Khao Phansa (Vassa) : This festival is sometimes called the Rains Retreat and is the beginning of Buddhist Lent. It starts the day after Asalha Puja. Young men will often become lay monks for a short period in order to earn merit. This period is followed by two of the major festivals in the Buddhist calendar: Wan Awk Pansa and Kathina.
Wan Awk Pansa : The last day of Buddhist Lent. Boats traditionally made of banana wood or bamboo are decorated with flowers and lamps and filled with offerings such as sticky rice sweets wrapped in banana leaves. In the evening they are launched into the water.
Kathina : A festival for lay people to express gratitude to Buddhist monks by giving them gifts such as food and flowers. The festival culminates in the Kathina Offering Ceremony at which cloth and new robes are offered to the monks. Kathina marks the end of Vassa and can take place from the waning moon of the eleventh lunar month to the start of the waxing moon of the twelfth (October or November).
Other Thai Festivals
Chinese New Year : Annual celebration of the Chinese New Year with dragon dances, firecrackers, Chinese food and processions. The celebrations take place throughout Thailand, and in Bangkok the main celebrations take place in the large Chinese communities in Yaorwarat Road.
culled from www.angloinfo.com