The Umbrella Festival is a bit of a contrast to Bo Sang’s agricultural economy. The origins of this craft don’t stem from Thailand. Apparently, a Thai monk discovered the umbrella-making technique while visiting Burma. Upon his return to Bo Sang, the monk enlightened the villagers with his newfound knowledge of the detailed handicraft. Ever since then, the yearly occasion is celebrated and as such, the craft has been synonymous with Thai traditions.
The Buddhist calendar is a lunar one, and the third lunar month is known in the Thai as Makha (from the Pali word Māgha); Bucha is also a Thai word (from the Pali word Pūjā), meaning “to venerate” or “to honor”. As such, Makha Bucha Day is to honor the Buddha and his teachings which he delivered on the full moon day of the third lunar month.
Chiang Mai, Thailand, known as the "rose of the north" hosts this three-day festival at the end of the cool season. By bringing to light a vibrant display of ancient and modern floral art the festival also exemplifies the traditions of the ancient Lanna Kingdom.
Songkran is Thailand’s most famous festival. An important event on the Buddhist calendar, this water festival marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. The name Songkran comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’.
Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival is an ancient local festival, which is associated with Thai traditional beliefs in the supernatural powers that help promote the production of rice crops for the coming planting season. In the rainy season, the local people believe that the god would hear the entreaties that they create a rocket or 'Bang Fai' to send to heaven, and bless them with plentiful rain for rice cultivation.
Phi Ta Khon Festival is the unique Thai tradition of Loei province. The original belief of the festival is traditionally ascribed to a story of Vessantara and Maddi when they left the woods and went back to the city. Ghosts and animals in the woods missed them so much that they disguise as local people to see them off to the city. This tradition happened since then and has been passed on until the present time.
Khao Phansa marks the first day of “Buddhist Lent,” a time when observant Buddhists fast from such things as meat, alcohol, and tobacco. For the most part, only Theravada, rather than Mahayana, Buddhists observe Khao Phansa, and even many Theravada practitioners choose not to fast.
Por Tor or the 'Hungry Ghost' festival is an important merit-making event for the ethnic Chinese. Special food, flowers and candles are offered to ancestors on altars. Other offerings are made to 'feed the ghosts without relatives' that are said to have been released from hell for the month.
Boat racing is a local festival that takes place every year all around the country during September and October. Most Laos traditional boat racing festivals take place before the end of Buddhist lent.
The origins of the Vegetarian Festival are Chinese, a celebration to the nine Emperor Gods, and the festival happens during the ninth Chinese lunar month every year. Although it is called the vegetarian festival, the diet is strictly vegan, as the requirements include giving up all fish, dairy, meat and poultry for nine days as a way to cleanse your body. Rules also state that you should wear white from head to toe, but this is not as widely practiced outside temples.
The history behind the festival is complex, and Thais celebrate for many reasons. The main rice harvest season has ended and it’s time to thank the Water Goddess for a year’s worth of her abundant supply, as well as an apology for polluting the waters. Some believe that this is the time to symbolically ‘float away’ all the anger and grudges you have been holding onto, and including a fingernail or a lock of hair is seen as a way of letting go of the dark side of yourself, to start anew free of negative feelings. If your candle stays alight until your Krathong disappears out of sight, it means a year of good luck.
New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count increments by one. Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner and the 1st day of January is often marked as a national holiday.