Thailand Calendar

Thai Calendar

Festival in Chiang Mai
Song Kran Festival

The people in Thailand use two different calendars, the Gregorian calendar to stay in sync with the rest of the world, and the Thai Lunar calendar.

The difference is about 543 years. Although they adopted the Gregorian calendar with the beginning of 1941, they still mostly use the Thai Lunar calendar.

The Thai Lunar calendar has 12 months and each month has four religious Buddha days which follow the four cycles of the moon: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, Last Quarter. The Thai Buddha sabbath falls on each of these days regardless of which day of the week it is. This is the day for the followers of Buddha to travel to a Temple and pay respect to Buddha.

The 12 month year begin with December as the first month.  Odd numbered months have 29 days and even numbered months have 30 days.  In order to keep the years in sync with the seasons, in some years, an extra day is added to the 7th month, and other years an extra month is needed so they repeat the 8th month.

You read that right, December is the first month as far as numbering the months, but the Thai New Year actually begins in April.  So the first month of the Thai year is month number 5.

The Thai people are very superstitious so special events are carefully planned to pick the right year, month, and day it should occur on.  For instance, 2010 was the year of the Tiger, which is a very unlucky year to get married or have children.  It is also not lucky for major events to happen in odd numbered months.  Sometimes it is good for an odd number, and sometimes it is bad, I’m confused about it and will continue to search for some reasoning here.

Thai people also follow the Chinese animal cycle, however, each animal cycle begins with the Thai New Year (April 13-15, Song Kran Day) instead of the Chinese New Year.

Twelve-year Animal Cycle

Gregorian year Chinese New Year’s Day Thai Year

13 April

1998 January 28 Pi Khan .. 虎 Tiger
1999 February 16 Pi Tho 兔 Rabbit
2000 February 5 Pi Marong 龍 Dragon (Big snake)
2001 January 24 Pi Maseng 蛇 Snake (Little snake)
2002 February 12 Pi Mamia 馬 Horse
2003 February 1 Pi Mamae 羊 Goat
2004 January 22 Pi Wok 猴 Monkey
2005 February 9 Pi Raka 雞 Rooster
2006 January 29 Pi Cho 狗 Dog
2007 February 18 Pi Kun
2008 February 7 Pi Chuat 鼠 Rat
2009 January 26 Pi Chalu 牛 Ox
2010 February 14 Pi Khan 虎 Tiger
2011 February 3 Pi Tho 兔 Rabbit

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