Everyone looks forward to a holiday or vacation from school or work. While we recommend you put aside time everyday for learning a new language, you can take breaks. Sustaining your learning schedule is the most important thing, after all. So which days would you choose to take off?
There are plenty of public holidays observed in Thailand, with many more religious and government-focused ones. Regional holidays are also not uncommon due to the diverse population of the country. All of this makes for an interesting year with lots of different celebrations, from splashing with water on Songkhran to visiting temples on Asahna Bucha.
The word for holiday in Thai is ‘wan yuud’ (วันหยุด). This describes any special event that occurs, such as festivals and religious events. Officially there are 19 holidays observed, though there are many more that are celebrated privately. Businesses must choose a minimum of 13 days each year to observe.
There are several days reserved for celebrating the royal family of the country, including the birth of the king. Then there are many days dedicated to Buddhist events, which will often see people head to the temples to pray and make merit with donations.
Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, where the Theravada school of Buddhism is the most popular. To be expected, this plays a large role in some of the holidays observed in the country.
It is also worth noting that on some of the major religious occasions, some special rules are followed. For example, alcohol is prohibited to be sold and as such much of the nightlife venues will be shut.
While not officially observed, many of the bigger Western holidays have commercially adopted for days of sales. Valentine’s Day, Christmas and New Year are all examples of this. With the large size of Thailand, it is understandable that there are also many local holidays, or unique celebrations for the big events. If you want to see something different, it is worth travelling around to different regions and cities.
Due to the many expats and tourists visiting Thailand, some other major international holidays will be celebrated to some extent. This is usually relegated to just the main cities and tourist areas and are just loosely followed.
Christmas is one such example. Malls, shops and some other buildings decorate using Christmas trees and signs while offering sales related to the holiday. Other than that though, not much else is done to celebrate.
New Year's Eve and New Year’s Day is also an interesting occasion. As we have looked at before, the Thai calendar is different from that in the West, being 543 years ahead. The Solar Calendar is used instead of the Lunar Calendar, meaning that New Years' actually falls later. Songkran is the celebration of the New Year in Thailand which takes place around April time. Despite this, many Thai people still celebrate both New Years'.
For visitors to Thailand, it can be interesting to see what holidays they have. In addition, it can help when planning an itinerary as some people may want to visit during certain occasions but avoid some others. Traffic does get pretty chaotic, after all. Just like with the polite words, being mindful of the culture will earn you more respect from the locals. Ultimately, I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the cultural aspect of Thailand.
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