Chinese New Year: 05 – 19. February 2019
Chinese New Year begins with the new moon and is the biggest festival in the Chinese calendar. As throughout the region, Thailand’s Chinese community celebrate this occasion in grand fashion.
The Year of the Pig
The Pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Pig was late because he overslept. Another story says that a wolf destroyed his house. He had to rebuild his home before he could set off. When he arrived, he was the last one and could only take twelfth place.
The Pig is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) hài (亥), and the hours 9–11 in the night. In terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Pig is yin. In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth.
Their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune as well. Pigs have a beautiful personality and are blessed with good fortune in life.
Recent years of the Pig are: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Paired with the Celestial Stems (天干—Tiān gān), there is a 60-year calendrical cycle. Although hài is associated with earth, the years also cycle through the five elements of nature (五行—wǔ xíng).
See the table below for the full details of each year.
Thai New Year (Songkran): 13 – 16. April 2019
The most frenetic festival in Thailand is Songkran, the Thai New Year and what would appear to be a national water fight. Held from the 13th to 16th April each year… it’s a wet one!
The Songkran Festival is a national holiday in Thailand. It marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. The word Songkran is derived from the Sanskrit work samkranti, which means astrological passage. It is a traditional Buddhist festival, and it is usually celebrated between 13 and 16 April unless the dates are modified by an official government announcement.
The Songkran Festival is also known as the water festival. It celebrates water as a ritual of washing away negativity from the year before. People celebrating Songkran take part in a traditional pouring of water that symbolises washing away back luck and sins from a person’s life. Some people add herbs to the ritual water, as well.
Buddhas Birthday: 12. May 2019 (Makha Bucha Day)
On May 12th, local Buddhist Temples celebrate this day by holding candlelight processions. A tourist can take part in these parades and it can prove great fun, although proper respect should be shown.
Makha Bucha Day is a Buddhist holiday celebrated in Thailand. It is based on the Buddhist Lunar Calendar and comes in February or March on the Gregorian Calendar. The celebration is held during the third lunar month of the year because Buddha is said to have delivered certain of his teachings at this time.
Vegetarian Festival: 28 Sept. – 07. Oct. 2019
The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival is the most dramatic celebration by Phuket’s Chinese-Thai majority and it takes place during the first nine days of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, (usually late September or early October).
Not recommended for the faint-hearted, one of the most exciting aspects of the festival are the various, sometimes gruesome ceremonies which are held to invoke the gods. The ceremonies of the festival take place in six Chinese temples scattered throughout Phuket, Thailand. The first event is the raising of the Lantern Pole, an act that signifies to the nine Chinese gods that the festival is about to begin and brings spiritual power to the event.
For the next few days, the local Chinese and Thai community brings their household gods to the temple, along with offerings of food and drink. Visitors can indulge in specially prepared vegetarian cuisine made available at street stalls and markets around the island during this time.
Events include hundreds of local residents running across a bed of burning coals, or climbing an eight metre ladder of sharp blades, and crossing a nailed bridge while in a trance-like state. Men and women puncture their cheeks with various items including knives, skewers and other household items. Firecrackers are let off at random throughout the festivities.
The last major ceremony of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is certainly the most impressive. On the last night all shrines join a street procession in Phuket Town called the Nine Emperor Gods Farewell.
Loy Krathong: 13. November 2019
As the full moon of the twelfth lunar month (usually in mid-November) lights up the night sky, throughout the Thai kingdom, hundreds of thousands of ornately-decorated krathong or traditional banana leaf floats are set adrift in rivers and waterways in a spell-binding ritual called “Loi Krathong” – the “Festival of Lights”. This is one of the Kingdom’s oldest and best-preserved traditions.
The Loy Krathong festival most likely has its origin in India. It is quite similar to Deepavali which is thanksgiving to the divinity of the Ganges river. People there release floating lanterns as sign of gratitude for the life throughout the year. As to the writings of H.M. King Rama IV in 1863, the originally Brahmanical festival was adapted by Buddhists in Thailand as a ceremony to honour the original Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama.
The light of candle on Krathong is a way of honouring the Buddha, but also a symbolic way to let go all the anger, bitter feelings and to start a new life. People also put some of their hair and fingernails on Krathong. It is a symbol of letting go all of bad parts in personality.
Many Thai people believe that releasing of Krathong down the river will bring them good luck. They do it to honour the Thai Goddess of Water Phra Mae Khongkha. Government institutions and big businesses build big Krathongs. There are contests where people compete in building of the most beautiful Krathong.
Celebrate Phuket with us! Thai- or Chinese New Year, the well-known Vegetarian Festival, Loy Kratong, Phuket Old Town Festival and many more. Check this page for dates and information about the traditional festivities in Phuket.
Regattas, Marathons, Music and Film Festivals, Shows, Exhibitions or Parties. Phuket is hardly a boring place, so join the fun and check this page to get to know what is going on on the Island.
The Mangosteen Team invites guests to join activities, parties and Thai Festivals. You are welcome to celebrate with us and learn about the local culture.