Thai Language Blog

Why does Thailand have Three Different New Years? Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Beginner, Culture, Travel

Thailand is the only country I am aware of that has three national New Year’s celebrations per year.

1) The traditional Thai New Years is called Songkran (songR graanM สงกรานต์), the famous three day nationwide water fight. This is always mid-April. Thais will flock out of Bangkok to see family in the provinces, causing massive traffic on every major road. Bangkok for three days will have little traffic and many shops closed. Thais would take off about a week from work. This is not much different from how any major Chinese city would be during Chinese new years. Unfortunately, the week comes with lots of heavy drinking and a very high road fatality rate. Pocket-picking is common in crowded areas so watch out.

2) New Year’s is translated as bpeeM maiL ปีใหม่. Thailand now goes by the international western calendar, giving Thais the weekend and approximately two additional days off from work to party like a westerner. This involves fireworks, a countdown, and lots of drinking. Like with Songkran, many Thais leave the city to visit family ‘up country’. They update both their western and Buddhist year calendars on this day. What Buddhist year is it in Thailand, anyway?

3) The last new years celebration is in late February, Chinese New Years. But they don’t call it bpeeM maiL jeenM, instead it’s called dtrutL jeenM ตรุษจีน. Thailand has a significant Chinese heritage from the massive influx of Chinese immigrants a century ago when Chinese fled the political upheaval of that time. While Thais don’t get a day off of work, many ladies can be seen wearing traditional Chinese outfits. You can also find a big celebration in China town – very crowded but still recommended. Plus, it’s yet another good Thai excuse for drinking and partying.
How do you say your New Year’s resolution in Thai?

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