Thailand Public Holidays in 2020
Thailand is known for its beautiful landscapes, lush greenery, gorgeous beaches, interesting wildlife and scrumptious cuisine. Apart from all this, the unique culture of Thailand attracts many people from all around the world to this exotic country. This is the reason why many people like to visit Thailand during their public holidays which celebrate religious, natural and cultural festivals and events of the country. Here is detailed information on all you need to know about the public holidays in Thailand in 2020.
1.New Year’s Day: January 01’2020
New Year Day i.e. January 01 is a holiday for government offices, schools and other such institutions of Thailand. You would find different types of celebrations throughout the country on the previous night, and January 01 is a day of rest and relaxation. Although most offices and schools have holidays, major tourist attractions, restaurants, shopping malls and stores remain open on this day. It is a great day to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy some shopping and quality time with friends and family.
2.Makha Bucha Day: February 08 and February 10’2020
Makha Bucha, one of the most important Buddhist festivals, falls on February 8 in 2020. As it is a Saturday, Thais would enjoy a holiday on Monday as well, i.e. on February 10. Makha Bucha, also known as Magha Puja or Lord Buddha Day, is celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month. It is believed to be the day when thousands of monks gathered to listen to the preaching of Lord Buddha. It marks a significant day in the growth and development of the religion. On this day, Thais wake up early and give alms to the monks. They also visit temples to listen to the preaching of the monks. There is also a candle ritual where people walk clockwise around the temple holding incense, a lighted candle and some flowers. Note that alcohol would not be served on both February 8 and 10, and bars and clubs would remain closed too.
3.Chakri Day: April 06’2020
Chakri Day commemorates the day the great Chakri Dynasty was established by the great king Rama I or Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke in 1782. Also known as Chakri Memorial Day, this special day is a holiday for schools, banks and government offices. On this day, special rituals and religious ceremonies happen at the royal chapel and are done by the current King and other members of the royal family. The King visits the Royal Pantheon, where he pays respects to his predecessors’ life-size statues. A wreath is laid on King Rama I’s statue.
4.Songkran Festival: April 13 to April 15’2020
Songkran Festival is in reality the traditional Thai New Year, one of the most important festivals in the Buddhist religion. Although Thailand considers January 01 the official New Year, Songkran is also celebrated with great pomp and excitement. One of the biggest and most important parts of the celebrations, which continue for 3 days, is throwing water. It is common to see people walking with water pistols as well as buckets of water to splash around. In temples, the images and statues of the Buddha are also washed with water on the first day of Songkran. Visiting Buddhist temples is also a major ritual on this day. Apart from the water throwing, you would get to enjoy cultural celebrations, street food, traditional performances, live music, etc. at different parts of the country. Thais also travel home during this festival to meet their elderly family members.
5.Labor Day: May 01’2020
Most countries around the world celebrate Labor Day on May 01, a day to mark the efforts of the worker community to gain equal rights. In Thailand, May 01 is a holiday for government offices, banks and schools. However, no major celebrations or activities happen to commemorate this event. On the other hand, it is considered to be a day of rest and relaxation, where people spend time with their families and friends. Earlier, May Day rallies were common in cities like Bangkok; however, nowadays the focus is more on the Coronation Day, which happens close to Labor Day.
6.Coronation Day: May 04’2020
Coronation Day marks the coronation ceremony of the present King Maha Vajiralongkorn or King Rama X, who was crowned King in 2016, after the death of his father, the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was the king of Thailand for 70 years. The ceremony lasting three days, ended on May 06’2016, but officially the Coronation Day is celebrated on May 04 since 2019. While the ceremonies begin 2 days before, only May 04 is an official public holiday. The ceremonies associated with Coronation Day include a combination of Buddhist religious ceremonies and Hindu Brahmin rituals. On May 04, the entire coronation ceremony is re-enacted. The day is celebrated with a feast to the monks and a 21-gun salute. There is also an award ceremony where people who have contributed to the growth of the Thai community receive awards.
7.Vishaka Bucha Day: May 06’2020
Vishaka Bucha Day is Buddha Purnima, the most auspicious day for Buddhists. It falls on the first full moon day in the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, it falls on May 06. Buddhists believe that it is on this day that Buddha was born, attained enlightenment (nirvana) and then again attained parinirvana (nirvana after the body’s death). As this is a religious occasion, visiting temples is the main tradition on this day. One of the main temples that Buddhists in Thailand visit on this day is the Wat Phra Kaeo, which is home to the Emerald Buddha as well as the Sanam Luang. Note that all restaurants, bars and shops are banned from selling alcohol on this day for 24 hours.
8.H.M.Queen’s Birthday: June 03’2020
The present Queen of Thailand, Queen Dowager Sirikit was born on June 03’1979. This day has been declared as a national holiday in Thailand. The Queen began her career as a flight attendant and later served in the Ratchawanlop Guards, the unit that served as the bodyguard of then Crown Prince. She was conferred the title of Her Majesty the Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana on May 4′ 2019. On her birthday, celebrations happen in all major cities of Thailand. You would see buildings decorated in flowers, colored lights and portraits of the Queen throughout the country.
9.Asahna Bucha Day: July 5’2020
Asahna Bucha, also known as Dhamma Day or Asalha Puja, is another important day for Buddhists. It happens on the first full moon in the eight lunar month. The Buddhists believe this to be the day when Lord Buddha gave his first sermon (Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion) at the Deer Park in India’s city of Benares, some 2500 years ago. It is also believed to be the day when the Buddhist Sangha or Monkhood was found. Special ceremonies are held in the Buddhists temples of Thailand. Monks chant mantra and also repeat the first sermon of Lord Buddha. People visit temples to donate offerings as well as to listen to sermons. Many people also visit their ancestral homes on this day. Asahna Bucha is also considered an auspicious day for young men to enter monkhood.
10.H.M.King’s Birthday: July 28’2020
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also titled Rama X, is the current ruler of Thailand. His birthday falls on July 28, which is a national holiday in Thailand. King Vajiralongkorn was born in the year 1952. He ascended the throne in 2016, only after the death of his father, the monarch who was the King of Thailand for 70 years. The King was 64 years old when he ascended the throne, making him the oldest Thai monarch to become King. On this day, most public offices, schools and banks are closed; however, several shops, restaurants, nightclubs and bars remain open. There is no alcohol ban on this day.
11.H.M. Queen Mother’s Birthday: August 12’2020
August 12 marks the birthday of the current Queen mother, Queen Sirikit, the mother of the current King (Rama X). The Queen mother had married the former King in 1950, a week before the official coronation of the King. On this day, you would see decorations including flowers, colored lights and the portrait of the queen mother in several buildings across the city. Apart from this, Thailand also has been celebrating Mother’s Day on the same day since 1976.
12.King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great Memorial Day: October 13’2020
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the former King of Thailand (who was King for 70 years), was one of the most loved and respected King in Thailand. October 13 marks the day of his death and is observed as a National Holiday across Thailand. Although the King had no legal role in politics, he was influencer in the political sphere and facilitated many changes, including the introduction of democracy in Thailand. To commemorate the death anniversary of the King, the entire country goes into a moment of silence at 3:52 PM, the exact time of death of the monarch. Other than this, people take part in community services like distributing food to the needy, cleaning roads and beaches, picking up garbage, etc. Bars and other places of entertainment remain closed on this day. Alcohol sale is prohibited on this day.
13.Chulalongkorn Day: October 23’2020
Chulalongkorn Day venerates the death of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who died on October 23′ 1910. This monarch ruled Thailand from 1868 (at the age of 15) till 1910. He is deeply respected by the Thais because he was the one who brought forth several political and social reforms that helped to modernize Siam, now Thailand. On this day, Thais place flowers and wreaths on the statue of King Rama V in their local areas. Every province hosts ceremonies in the honor of the King. Although it is a national holiday, restaurants, bars and stores would remain open. There is no restriction on drinking and selling alcohol on this day.
14.The King’s Birthday: December 05’2020
The late monarch, King Bhumibol’s birthday falls on December 05. As December 5 2020 falls on a Saturday, it is a national holiday on Monday i.e. December 7′ 2020. King Bhumibol is hugely respected amongst Thais. He was the longest ruling monarch in the history of Thailand, as he ruled the kingdom from 1946 to 2016. He also facilitated several policies for the development of the country although he did not have any legal rights for making political decisions. The Thais celebrate this day with great pomp. You would find the places decorated with bunting, flags as well as the photos of the late King. The Grand Palace area of Bangkok is decorated with thousands of yellow marigolds, the color of celebration for the Thais. Apart from this, celebratory fireworks display happen in several places of the country.
15.Thailand Constitution Day: December 10’2020
Thailand Constitution Day marks the day when Thailand moved from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy. Rama VII signed the constitutional monarchy in 1932, when the country was suffering economically during the Great Depression. The King still is the head of state and military as well as the defender of all religions in Thailand, but does not have any legal political rights. The celebration of Constitution Day is a way of thanking the monarchs for giving the Thais a chance to run their country. On this day, you would see parades and fireworks throughout the country. Images of Thai kings are also displayed on this day.
16.New Year’s Eve: December 31’2020
Thailand is one of the few countries that have public holidays on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You would see different kinds of celebrations happening in different parts of the country. Parties at nightclubs, beach parties, fireworks, countdown at midnight, etc. are some of the ways of celebrating New Year’s eve in the major cities of Thailand. If you want to be a part of a unique New Year’s Eve celebration, head to Chiang Mai, where thousands of lanterns are released in the air, at the stroke of midnight. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy a peaceful and quiet New Year, visit the Wat Phan Tao, where the Buddhists monks chant and meditate while surrounded by hundreds of candles. This is followed by a tradition of releasing good-luck lanterns.
Thailand enjoys 19 holidays in 2020. If any of the holidays fall on a weekend, the following Monday would be declared as a public holiday.