5 festivals in Chiangmai always crowded
Unlike the busy pace of life in Bangkok and others tourism city in Thailand, Chiangmai is well-known with many special festival to keep their own traditional form. Compare to other region in Thaland the people in Northern of Thailand -Chiangmai- is seem to be enjoy the life not so busy.
Besides Songkran and Loy Krathong, two most buzz festivals in all over Thailand, Chiangmai still have some local festivals which are quieter and more traditionally, reflecting deep connection the people of Chiang Mai have with their traditions, their ancestor and their land.
Songkran is Thailand’s most famous festival. It is an important event on the Buddhist calendar and marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. The name Songkran comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’. The festival is also known as the world’s largest water festival and is celebrated by everyone including children, adults, friends, and strangers. During the festival, people splash water on each other as a symbol of cleansing and washing away bad luck. The holiday period extends from 14 to 15 April every year.
Nowadays many people from over the world set up their schedule to join in Songkran festival in Thailand every year, so if you are visiting Thailand in April by accident, don’t be surprised or get angry to be someone’s target for water.
As a foreigner, you will be a primary target for water and talcum powder attacks, therefore:
- Dress lightly and don’t wear your best attire to avoid damage from the colored powder.
- Wear sunglasses to avoid getting direct hits from water, ice cubes or worse to your eyes.
- Wear a hat for extra sun and water protection. Always, always, wear a helmet when driving a motorbike on these days.
- Most importantly: Never lose your temper even when splashed with icy water or smeared by drunk louts. In Thailand, even when you’re right to get angry, DON’T. Always smile and play along.
- When “fighting back”, remember the basic rules:
- No spraying into the eyes and ears,
- no spraying of people obviously working or carrying expensive stuff like cameras,
- no spraying after sunset.
This is the festival that every visitor to Thailand should witness if they have the chance, and especially if they’re in Chiang Mai.
Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated by the Thai people on the full moon night of the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar. It usually occurs in the month of November. The festival is also known as Thailand’s Festival of Lights and is one of the biggest festivals in Thailand. The festival is an annual traditional Siamese festival celebrated by Thais to pay respect to the Goddess of Water and the Buddha. During the festival, people make krathongs or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. Many Thais use the krathong to thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha (Thai: พระแม่คงคา) or to worship the Buddha’s hair pagoda in heaven.
“Loy” literally means “to float, to let float”, while Krathong is the name of the float, the lotus-shaped receptacle of donations (flowers, betel nuts, joss sticks, candles, coins) to the river spirits. Traditionally, floats were slices of banana trunk, then there was an ominous phase when they were made of “high-tech” styrofoam, and now floats in Chiang Mai are universally made of the traditional banana trunk again. The intricately folded decorations of the floats are truly a sight to behold. This must be the best-preserved traditional craft in Thailand: Young children (girls and boys) learn folding banana leaves into these refined shapes from an early age.
Yi Peng festival
Yi Peng (written as Yee Peng), a famous Thailand festival, usually coincides with Loy Krathong Festival. It is a festival unique to northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai, and is usually celebrated in November. During the festival, people launch paper lanterns into the air for good fortune. The festival is meant as a time to make merit.
Update: In recent years the government has limited the times that Khom Loy can be released, due to potential dangers to the ever increasing air traffic to Chiang Mai.
Houses and gardens and everything is additionally decorated with Khom Fai โคมไฟ in different forms while restaurants and larger establishments as well as inner city roads will have many Khom Kwaen โคมแขวน, large lanterns with long tassels