Chiang Mai Festivals & Events
– Your Personal Guide
This includes not only religous & cultural events but also feature handicraft exhibitions and sales of local produce.
Please see details below of the main annual events:
Bor Sang Umbrella Fair & San Kamphaeng Handicrafts Festival – Almost everyone in the small village of Bor Sang, near Chiang Mai is involved in making brightly painted paperumbrellas.
The annual fair,held along the main street features contests, exhibitions & processions involving local people all dressed up in local costumes & carrying their umbrellas.
The festival are also contains a large range of handicraft stalls all featuring locally made goods for sale.
Ban Tawai Village Wood Carving Fair – Practical demonstrations, contests and stalls with wood carvings and local handicrafts.
Also includes local folk performances and a procession highlighting the entire range of popular northern Thai wood crafts.
Chiang Mai Annual Flower Carnival – Amazing & dazzling colours are the order of the day in this celebration of flowers !.
A gentle festival with a parade of intricately arranged flower floats, a beauty contest, flower displays, gardening techniques and flowers for sale.
Throughout the main city streets and at Buak Hard Park.
St Valentines Day not officially recognised in Thailand as a “national day”, but it is starting to have a real prescence within the daily lives of the nation so
St Valentines Day is now officially added to the Chiang Mai Festivals & Events diary !.
Makha Bucha Day (February 21st) – Is a very important Buddhist holiday, Wat Doi Suthep Temple is always filled to capacity with both Thai’s & fellow Buddhists who all gather to honour the event.
Buddhists carry flowers, lighted candles, and joss sticks walk around the Chedi at the temple three times, before placing their gifts & offering prayers to the Lord Buddha.
Chiang Mai Arts And Culture Festival – Over a period of nine days, visitors are invited to get better acquainted with the region’s burgeoning arts scene through a packed programme of events and entertainments.The activities range from traditional music and dance performances to more contemporary artinstallations and exhibitions.Other attractions and events include food exhibitions, children’s puppet shows, handicraft exhibitions and workshops.
The event was first held in 1996 to celebrate Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s birthday which coincides with the Thai Cultural Heritage Preservation Day.The event has grown in popularity every year since to become one of the region’s leading arts and culture events.
Chiang Mai Songkran Festival – Although centred around Tha Pae Gate and the old moated city centre,the whole of the city is engulfed by this traditional festival to welcome the Thai New Year, usually takes place in the 2nd week of April.
Large scale water throwing is the order of the day, EVERY pick-up truck is loaded with people & barrels of water for throwing at ANYTHING that moves !!.
Thais do also undertake the traditional aspects – visiting the temple, constructing sand chedis, and pouring lustral water over respected elders and Buddha images.
After the serious stuff, the water throwing begins in earnest and goes on for a about three days! Simply join in and go with the flow!.
With the annual Songkran Celebrations (Thai New Year) now complete, attention now switches to the small village of Baan Haad Krai in Amphur Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai province, where a very special age old tradition is about to begin – the search for the Giant Catfish of the Mae Khong River.
Visaka Bucha Day (May 19th) – A Buddhist holiday, in commemoration of the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.
Chiang Mai Buddhists walk up to Doi Suthep Temple at night to make tributes & prayers.
City Pillar Inthakin Festival – The Inthakin festival also known as the festival of the City Pillar is held each year at Wat Chedi Luang Temple in the centre of Chiang Mai.
The sacred City Pillar (now encased in concrete) can only be seen during the yearly festival in May.
Over 100,000 people each year visit to came to make merit which is called “Tam Boon Khan Dok” by placing flowers,candle and incense sticks on the bowls in the forecourts of the temple to invoke blessings of peace, happiness and prosperity for Chiang Mai and its residents.
Wan Awk Pansa is celebrated in Mae Hong Son on the last day of the Thai Buddhist lent and also signifies the end of the rainy season, the words “Awk Pansa” means “leaving the period of rain”.
There are colourful, noisy processions, with donations of food and necessities given to monks.
Chiang Mai Loy Krathong Festival(Yee Peng) – takes place each year on the first & second days of the full-moon of the twelfth lunar month & is one of the most charming of all Thai festivals.
The custom of placing handmade floats decorated with flowers and candles on waterways goes back over 700 years to the Sukhothai historical period .
During this two day festival, each evening the skies over Chiang Mai are full of paper covered floating lanterns & fireworks, it really is a sight to behold!.
If you have plans to visit either Chiang Mai or Thailand during the Loy Krathong Festival it really is a “must see” event!!.
In Northern Thailand, “Yee Peng” is celebrated for two nights under the new full moon.
As the moon rises on the second night, celebrations include a procession with floats through the city to the Ping River, boat races, and a beauty contest.
Hot air lanterns similar to balloons are also launched all around into the night sky – a truly incredible sight !!.
H.M The King’s Birthday (December 5th)– Is celebrated nationwide with brightly decorated buildings and streets.
His birthday is also celebrated as “Fathers’ Day” in Thailand.
Rose Festival (December 27th-29th) – A popular Chiang mai celebration of the world’s favourite flower. Exhibitions, culture performances and competitions held around Chiang Mai.
Christmas – Celebrated by mainly the Western residents, or visitors to Chiang Mai, to the Thais its just another day.
New Year – Although its a Western New Year, the Thais do celebrate it,traveling ANYWHERE between 26th – 30th is extremely difficult & all modes of transport are badly congested & tested to their limits.
Please Share with us your
Favourite Festivals or Events
Has there been a particular Festival or Event that you have visited whilst in Chiang Mai?, we would love to hear what it is.
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