Connect with us

Thailand

Why Thailand celebrates the New Year not once, not twice, but 3 times

Published

 on 

PHOTO: Amazing Thailand

While the year just gone may be referred to as 2020 by most of us (with perhaps a few expletives thrown in, given the year it was), we are currently in the year 2563 in Thailand. As everyone who lives here knows, Thailand uses the Buddhist calendar, as well as the Western, or Gregorian, calendar, adding to our eternal confusion when wading through Thai documentation.

While the Gregorian calendar, also sometimes called the Christian calendar, is based around the birth of Jesus, the Buddhist one begins with the birth of Buddha, currently 2563 years ago. However, as can be seen below, the date in Thailand is usually written by combining the Gregorian date and month with the Buddhist year. The quickest way to work out what the year equates to in the Gregorian calendar, is to subtract 543 from the Thai year.

Why Thailand celebrates the New Year not once, not twice, but 3 times | News by Thaiger

A lot of superstition governs the Buddhist calendar, with certain days having special meanings and considered more auspicious than others. Thais take these very seriously, particularly when choosing when to hold a wedding or funeral ceremony. Even when to buy a car or to propose marriage. The calendar is less frequently used by the younger generation, who tend to rely more on the Gregorian one.

Meanwhile, when it comes to celebrating the arrival of a new year, Thailand does so 3 times. The Buddhist New Year, the Chinese New Year, and the Western New Year, are all celebrated in some or all parts of the Kingdom.

The Buddhist New Year
This celebration is also known as Songkran, or Thai New Year, and is celebrated in April, when the weather is usually at its hottest. Traditionally, Buddhists celebrate Songkran by performing a ceremony in which they pour water over statues of Buddha, as well as on each other. This represents a period of cleansing, in which bad fortune and sins are washed away.

However, the original water ceremony has also evolved into large-scale water fights and street parties involving super-soakers and buckets of water (often, ice cold). It’s a bit of a mega-party that, in pre-Covid times, was a huge tourist draw. Although the water throwing only lasts a day in most places, it can continue for several days in some, even up to a week in places like Chiang Mai.

The Western New Year
In Thailand, despite the Buddhist New Year being marked in April, the official start of the year, particularly for international businesses, is still January 1. This is a public holiday and the evening before is the scene of glittering New Year’s Eve festivities, just like Western countries. While celebrations this year may have been somewhat muted due to the ever-present awareness of Covid-19, in more normal times, you can expect parties, live music, and fireworks a-plenty. By the way, Happy New Year!

The Chinese New Year
According to Wikipedia, up to 16% of Thailand’s population is considered ethnic Chinese, with the Kingdom having the largest overseas Chinese community in the world outside mainland China. This group also has their own calendar, with a noisy, firecracker-dominated celebration to welcome the Chinese New Year in late January or early February. The festivities culminate in the “lion dance”, involving 2 people in a large, colourful lion costume, performing dance moves.

There’s no doubt about it, the Thais love an excuse to party. And celebrating a new year, not once, not twice, but on 3 separate occasions, is one way to guarantee some fun. Let’s hope that the first of those celebrations, which took place last night, heralds the arrival of a more positive period for all!

SOURCE: Spirit of Thailand

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Destination Guide4 hours ago

Best areas to live in Phuket (2022)

Video5 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Fears of shenanigans in Mountain B Pub fire investigation

Travel5 hours ago

5 vineyards and wineries in Thailand all wine lovers should know

Sponsored14 hours ago

Super luxury villas in Phuket with breathtaking ocean views

Thailand5 hours ago

Thai neitzens angry at SUV driver using a siren just to use toilet

Thailand6 hours ago

New poll says people from Thailand more relaxed about Covid-19

Thailand6 hours ago

Rama 2 Road guilty of being a repeat accident offender

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand7 hours ago

Body of one teacher found in double suicide pact in SE Thailand

Thailand8 hours ago

Son who tried to starve mother to death dies of TB in NE Thailand

Crime9 hours ago

Mystery 911 emergency service call turns out to be a monkey

Thailand10 hours ago

Hot gran bowled over by Shane Warne before he died in Thailand

Thailand10 hours ago

Soi Dog Foundation pledges to neuter 1 million animals in 2 years

Thailand11 hours ago

EPL praises Thailand for crackdown on illegal footie sites

Pattaya11 hours ago

Sick German man fails in suicide attempt in Pattaya

Video11 hours ago

Thailand approves all time high electricity price | GMT

Economy12 hours ago

Instant noodles, a staple budget food, fighting to increase prices

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending