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Festivals in Thailand? Yes, please!

Festivals in Thailand? Yes, please!

story by: House of Travel

All year round, Thailand is a fantastic holiday destination. Famous for bustling cities, visiting historic temples, or tasting the delicious food at markets. You may be keen to lounge on sunny beaches or pursue intrepid journeys through the lush green islands - but there are some things worth timing your visit for: festivals. 

Festivals in Thailand are exciting and energetic ways to experience the country. Here are five annual ones to put in your calendars.

Loi Krathong Lantern Festival
 
Also known as the 'Festival of Lights', Thai people celebrate by floating beautiful lotus-shaped lanterns called Loi Krathongs along lakes, ponds and rivers in commemoration of their God, Buddha. Usually this festival occurs in November, but the exact dates change because it is hosted on the full moon in the Thai Lunar Calendar's twelfth month. In Chiang Mai, locals take to the skies as they make a wish on their lantern before releasing it into the night alongside thousands of others, called the Yi Peng Sky Lantern Festival. What you see unfold before your eyes is one of those once-in-a-lifetime sights, as heavens above transform into an ocean of lights. You can even join in yourself and light one of these mesmerising lanterns before making a wish - such as 'I wish my trip to Thailand never has to end!'

Songkran 

Taking place during the Thai New Year in the month of April, Songkran is also called the water festival. Its name derives from the ancient Sankranti language, translating to 'move or change', which is fitting for a new year. Thai people celebrate with fun water fights, and travellers are invited to join in on the festivities, taking to the streets as buckets of water are joyously thrown onto people and toy guns drench those not quite quick enough to out-run the onslaught. Symbolically, getting doused in water in this way represents cleansing and rejuvenating the body for the upcoming year. Splash around and enjoy! 

Phi Ta Khon
 
Hosted among the mountains in the Loei province of northeastern Thailand, Phi Ta Khon is a colourful festival held on the first weekend after the sixth full moon, typically in June or July. Grand processions can be admired as people wear large, beautifully decorated masks and traditional Thai dress as they parade through the streets. At the Wat Phonchai temple, dancers perform on an outdoor stage. These masks are a work of art in their own right: carved from banana trunks or wood, topped with a headpiece made using a woven cone that the locals usually use to steam their rice. 

Bo Sang Umbrella Fair 

Delicate, intricately painted Thai mulberry paper umbrellas and other handicrafts are on sale at this charming festival, held in the third week of January in the Bo Sang and San Kamphaeng villages of Chiang Mai. Watch the local artisans paint these at the fair, their brushstrokes adding blossoming flowers to the bright backgrounds of Saa-paper or silk umbrellas. You can purchase one to take home as a lovely memoir of your travels. 

Chiang Mai Flower Festival 

Each year in the month of February, the streets of Chiang Mai bloom with parades, exhibitions of flowers and the Miss Chiang Mai Flower Festival competition. A naturally lush area, the hills and valleys of Chiang Mai explode in colour over the month of February as orchids, chrysanthemum, marigold and exotic roses such as the Fa Mui and thin Uang Dok Lek grow towards the sky. The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is growing into a historic annual event, having started 38 years ago. Try your hand at arranging a floral bouquet at one of the competitions, or simply stop to smell the roses and remember the bliss of being on holiday. 

With so many festivals to choose from, where will you travel to first?

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