If you ask someone from the local people how they celebrate the New Year in Thailand, then, most likely, get the answer: «which one is it?». Yes, this country is exotic even in such a seemingly obvious topic as the change of the calendar year. In the culture of Thai society, many things are mixed: local Thai traditions, patterns characteristic of Chinese civilization, elements of Western culture.
European New Year in Thailand
Chinese Lunar New Year in Thailand
When and how do they celebrate the New Year in Thailand? The three layers of Thai culture listed above, although they are in contradiction to each other, somehow exist together. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Thais celebrate a new year in each of these three traditions. Chronologically: first — in the European, then — in the Chinese, lastly — in its own Thai.
European New Year in Thailand
The traditional New Year for us is celebrated from December 31 to January 1, in Thailand is relatively recent — about 70 years. This is largely due to the policy of openness of this country in relation to the rest of the world.
Festive events are held throughout the country everywhere. Especially wide scope they acquire in large cities. New Year in Pattaya or Bangkok gathers in the squares and streets of tens and hundreds of thousands of people, mostly foreigners, but also Thai youth, too, do not mind to join the general merriment. The city turns into a big open-air: live music is played, various contests are held, performances are arranged. The very New Year’s Eve is, of course, fireworks and music in the open air.
The European New Year in Thailand falls on the peak of the tourist season. A large number of people is not the only feature of this holiday. Planning to meet the year in Tae should be borne in mind that the prices for rest at this time are very high, and there is very little available space for accommodation. Stunned in cafes and restaurants.
If you are planning to celebrate a new year in Thailand organized in a place with a good view for viewing the mid-day salute, you should reserve a table by December 25. New Year’s Eve dinner with a local entertainment program, contests and, possibly, a lottery will cost $ 60- $ 100 per person.
If we talk about the massive New Year’s leisure, then tourists need to keep in mind that in this country there is no evening celebrations. All public events begin on December 31 at 18-19 hours and end at midnight with fireworks. Let us consider in more detail what happens in the cities of Thailand for the new year.
Where you can meet the New Year in Bangkok:
- Prayer in the Buddhist temple of Wat Arun. You can view and participate in the ceremony from 22.00 to 0.30.
- Near the Central World shopping center at Ratchadamri Rd. Since 18.00, near a huge improvised Christmas tree here is a large number of people.
- Near the Asiatique SKY Ferris wheel at Charoenkrung Rd. The whole evening there is a concert, DJs are playing, the holiday ends with a salute.
- In the parking lot of the Mega Bangna shopping center in front of the main entrance (near Suvarnabhumii). From 19.00 until midnight, a musical event is held on the established stage. Final fireworks are required.
- The big get-together is going near the Crystal Design Center between Ekkamai and Ram Inthra Rd.
Places and events for the New Year in Pattaya:
- The main «tree» of the city is set near the hotel Bali Hai Bay at the end of Walking Street. A large number of people are flocking here. Every year a stage is set for the performance of musicians and DJs. The program is completed with a firework.
- For those who want to stay in Pattaya for a new year at a distance from a big party, but at the same time it’s nice to see a salute, a review site with PATTAYA letters near the Royal Cliff is suitable.
- At the pier of Bali Hai, a New Year’s concert program is held annually. There are quite a lot of people here, many young people, who traditionally like to celebrate the New Year in Pattaya just at this pier.
The main events for the celebration of the New Year in Phuket are held on the beaches of Patong and Karon, as well as in Phuket Town. True, in the latter the majority of the public is represented by the local population. Considering that Phuket is a Thai tourist mecca, the people walk a lot. In other respects, the program repeats those discussed above for other cities.
It should be noted that most Thais do not celebrate the European New Year in the generally accepted sense of the word. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day it is customary to visit temples where relevant religious activities are held, make offerings to monks, perform other virtuous deeds, and listen to the preaching of clergymen. At this time, the Thais have a habit of dressing in new clothes, because they believe that it will bring them good and good luck in the New Year.
Chinese Lunar New Year in Thailand
The Chinese, who for centuries settled in Thailand, brought with them not only elements of their material culture, but also ideological concepts. The lunar cycle is one of them. Despite the fact that the Chinese lunar New Year is not traditionally Thai, the Thais have become accustomed to this holiday for so long and celebrate it in a colorful and grand manner.
As in China itself, the lunar New Year in Thailand is 3 days off. On the streets of all cities are traditional carnival processions. Public spaces are decorated with red lanterns.
In the thick of mass festivals, legendary mythological scenes with the participation of «dragons», «snakes», people dress up in bright and unusual traditional costumes. Everywhere plays national music, pyrotechnic effects are widely used. If you’re lucky, you can also see extreme street performances: yogis walking on coals and knives. In general, the lunar New Year in Thailand is an interesting and cognitive event for Westerners. It is definitely worth seeing.
It falls on a season with good weather conditions — the end of January — the beginning of February:
- in 2017 the holiday will be celebrated from 28 to 30 January;
- in 2018 — from 16 to 18 February;
- in 2019 — from 5 to 7 February;
- in 2020 — from 25 to 27 January.
Finally, the real Thai New Year is at the height of the local summer — April — and lasts 3 days. The date of the Songkran is fixed — April 13-15.
Being religious people, the Thais in the days of Songkran pay great attention to spiritual purification and self-improvement. In churches, appropriate religious rites are held everywhere. These days it is customary to pray a lot, make donations to temples and monks, receive «blessings».
Public Songkran is marked much wider, more massive and more fun than other «new years». Performances are held on the streets, various festive events are held. Since at this time in Thailand is very hot, the tradition of mass dousing each other with water — from buckets, basins, other household utensils, bottles, water pistols and similar devices was fixed. At the feast, everyone walks wet and often colorful because of the use of special colored powders in the streets.
For a foreigner, Songkran is always a discovery and an interesting experience. The holiday is celebrated in Tae everywhere and it seems: whether it’s a new year in Pattaya, in Chiang Mai or on the island of Samui.