There are many festivals in Thailand and all of them are celebrated in Pattaya, a popular beach destination along the East coast of the country. However, aside from the national festivals, Pattaya also has local fairs that are as colorful and as fascinating as the city itself. The religion, culture and festivals in Pattaya represent not just the unique characteristics of the people of Thailand but also the hundreds of years that make up the country’s history.
Here are a few of Pattaya’s fiestas that are worth experiencing:
- Songkran. The biggest festival in Pattaya is the traditional Thai New Year. It is celebrated in April and Pattaya celebrates it along with the rest of the country. Thailand celebrates Songkran at different dates and Pattaya is usually the last of all the major cities of Thailand to celebrate it on the 19th of April. Pattaya celebrates Songkran with a water fight that starts about a week before the actual celebration.
- Loy Krathong. The Loy Krathong is one of the most beautiful and enchanting celebrations of Pattaya. It is a national festival celebrated on a full moon night of the 12th lunar month, which generally falls in November. Pattaya’s skies at this time of year are filled with little white hot air balloons. The seas are also filled with banana leaf floats decorated with flowers. The people release the hot air balloons into the sky and the floats into the sea as a symbolic gesture of sending bad luck and illnesses away. It’s a time to thank the goddess of water as well for the abundant harvest of that year and for the next one.
- Wan Lai. The Wan Lai is Pattaya’s extended celebration of Songkran. It is celebrated in the latter days of April. There are water fights everywhere and you can be sure that people will throw water at you when you go out of your hotel. Nobody is excused. There are also more sober activities like bird-releasing rituals, ceremonial water pouring and sand pagoda making that are all supposed to achieve and increase spiritual worthiness. There are also water float parades, different water sports contests and a sandcastle-building competition.
- Ngan Bun Klag Ban. After the Songkran, the first week of May, the Ngan Bun Klag Ban is celebrated. Food is offered by the people to the local monks to increase their ‘spiritual credits’. After the religious ceremonies, there would be games in the streets and some basket-making shows.
- Chonburi Buffalo Race. The culture and festivals in Pattaya are closely linked to the occupation of its people and it is best seen in the Chonburi Buffalo Race. In Pattaya, buffalos are considered as the most useful animals of the Thai farmers. During the fair, the buffalos are caparisoned beautifully as they are readied to pull their owner farmers around town at a remarkable speed. It’s one of the popular sports in Pattaya that men like to watch and engage in. The bright costumes of the buffalos also make it an entertaining watch for the ladies.