Every April, to celebrate the traditional Thai New Year, the entire land of Thailand fills up with water and clay. That is how the largest water festival in the world starts.
Cities, small towns and villages along with the locals get wet to wash away all sins and bad luck. Songkran represents a complete purification, and it is supposed to unite Thai folk. No spot in the country is left behind. Major roads often get closed for transport so they can be used as arenas for the epic water fights.
Songkran enthusiasts wearing colourful clothes march down the streets squirting and spraying water over each other and rubbing clay on their faces. It is a public holiday in Thailand and a huge fun day for both, Thai people and visitors from every corner of the world, as this phenomenal open-air public theatre is a unique spectacle.
2.LOY KRATHONG/YI PENG
A rather peaceful, but perhaps even more popular celebration than Songkran is Loy Krathong, and this might well be the most magical event of all.
The Lantern Festival, also called the ‘Full Moon Festival’, is celebrated every year across all Buddhist countries and it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In Thailand, they call it Yi Peng – full moon day in the second month according to the Lanna lunar calendar.
Typically, in November thousands of people gather in Bangkok to launch myriads of lantern up into the sky, looking more like swarms of jellyfish floating high in the air. It is an extraordinary spectacle even though repeated each year it hardly ever becomes a cliché.
3.CHINESE NEW YEAR
The Chinese community in Bangkok is huge, and many of them are Buddhists or Taoists, who celebrate their holy days differently.
For the Chinese people, apart from the popular Mid-Autumn Festival and Qingming, the most important time of a year is the Chinese New Year. This is the Spring Festival that is broadly honoured in Bangkok. It usually falls on the new moon between late January and late February, according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
On the very first day of the New Year, a new zodiac sign comes to power, and it is extremely important for the Chinese what animal will be ruling in the coming year. Traditionally, all households decorate their windows with the red paper-cuts that say “good fortune”, “wealth” and “happiness”.
The Chinatown in Bangkok is not an exception. Besides, the quarter turns into an explosion of red – dancing dragons, parading masks, loud music, radiant fireworks, traditional lanterns and marching acrobats dressed in red costumes colour are omnipresent.
4.CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR`S EVE
Although the Buddhist culture does not celebrate, Christmas globalisation has changed much in Thailand, and one of its demonstrations is Christmas in Bangkok.
Naturally, there is neither a real belief in Santa Claus nor a joy of decorating a Christmas tree or building a snowman, yet, Christmas in Bangkok is definitely a feast for one`s eyes. And those who fancy ‘white Christmas’ should spend a day in Bangkok Snow Town.
The last on Bangkok`s event calendar is the New Year`s Eve. This is a time when the whole Bangkok dazzles and twinkles and the city turns into a shining wonderland. The New Year is welcome with some of the world`s most glorious fireworks over the Chao Phraya River. The whole grandeur is best to admire from a boat.
5.CHIANG MAI FLOWER FESTIVAL
Although there are various flower festivals across the country, and Bangkok hosts on too, the star of the flower show are Chiang Mai. This dazzling show will make your head turn.
The Flower Festival of Chiang Mai, known as “Rose of the North”, is an event not to be missed. The images will remain in your mind forever. A flower parade, which goes on for 3 days every first week of February, is defined by the abundantly decorated floats, exhibit booths, beautiful dancers and an overwhelming firework of flowers – all that are marching slowly along the city.
Yet, the highlight is something to be waiting for no matter what it takes: the evening moment when the “Flower Festival Queen” or the “Miss of Chiang Mai” is chosen.
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