Recently in Holidays Category

Happy Halloween


pumkins.gifHalloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine. It's too bad that we don't really celebrate it over here in Thailand. You do see a bit of face paint come out, but that's about it.

And Thai people are definitely into ghost stories. Almost every Thai movie that is made is either a silly comedy or a horror flick. Not only that, but I've heard several real-life ghost stories from a certain friend of mine. For example, when his grandmother died, he told me that several members of his family reported seeing her ghost.

But perhaps since Thai people believe so strongly in real ghosts, then dressing up as one is not as much fun.

Aside from the scary costumes, my other favorite part of Halloween is carving pumpkins. I saw my first creative Pumpkin Carving Contest at the NC State School of Design back around 1997, Jack O'Lanterns have been one of my favorite parts of Halloween. My friend Eric sent me the pic on the right and a link to more outrageous (and not particularly classy or tasteful) pumpkin carvings.

It is Visakha Puja Day in Thailand, one of the three main Buddhist holidays. We had the day off from school and I was determined not to do any work. So Piyawat and I decided to head to Siam Park, a 20 year old water park on the outskirts of Bangkok.

And how was it? Well, it looked 20 years old, for starters. But we had a good time in the talay ("ocean", or in this case, the wave pool) and the super spiral and straight-away water slides. The super spiral was especially fun. It seemed super fast and super twisty. In fact, every time I went down it, I had to sit down to rest to clear my spinning head.

After a few hours we were both feeling quite dizzy -- or, for the Thai word of the day: vien hua (literally, "circling head"). So we headed home to rest.

As I said before, today is the Buddhist holiday, so tonight (after a nap, dinner, and a few laps at the gym pool) I went to the temple to watch the local folk do the vien tien ("circling candles") around the temple. In this ceremony, which I have seen a few other times, worshipers walk around the temple three times carrying candles, flowers, and incense.

It's a beatiful sight. I'm just glad that my vien hua didn't keep me from the vien tien...

Makha Bucha

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Today is one of the holiest Buddhist holidays. It is called Makha Bucha (litterally, "worship in the third month") and is celebrated on the 3rd lunar cycle. Thai Buddhists visit the temples to light candles and remember two separate events that happened on this day.

The first event occurred nine months after Buddha reached Enlightenment, when 1250 of his disciples showed up to hear him preach, unannounced and unplanned. His sermon gave the disciples the "Monk Way": give up evil, cultivate good, and cleanse one's mind.

The second event took place 44 years later, when Buddha announced that he would be entering Nirvana three months from that date. That holy day (three months from now) is called Visakha Bucha

Valentines in Bangrak

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I don't know why I am surprised by this, but yes, Thai people celebrate Valentine's Day. As soon as the Chinese New Year decorations came down, the pink and red hearts and balloons went up.

Why should this be no surprise? First of all, as I have mentioned several times, Thai people love holidays. Secondly, it has been my experience in my friendships, in my classroom, and what I see on TV and hear on the radio, Thai people are very emotional -- inside and out. So it makes sense that a holiday dedicated to LOVE would be very popular.

Today is a special day where I live -- a part of Bangkok called Bangrak. There are many parts of Bangkok that start with Bang (meaning "area"): Bangrak, Bangna, Bangpo, Banglumphu, and Bangkapi, to name a few. But, as I found out last week, Bangrak translates to "Love Area". (To say "I love you" in Thai, say Pom rak khun). So today, many Thai couples will go to Bangrak to register their marriages on Valentine's Day in "Love Area".

Chinese New Years


Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Today is the start of the Lunar year -- this one is the Year of the Ram (or if you choose: sheep or goat). From what I can tell, even though there are many Thai-Chinese in Bangkok, this is a fairly mellow holiday. The only thing I have personally witnessed is a lot of Chinese decorations going up in stores and shops (round red lanterns and red banners) for the past week or so, and today's Skytrain was full of ladies in red silk blouses with gold trim and embroidered Chinese characters.

I still, however, love the fact that Thai people celebrate New Year's three times: Western in January, Chinese in February, and Thai in April.

I know I am mixing metaphors (err, holidays) here, but I have a Chinese New Year's resolution: More posts to my website. Can I do a post a day for the month of February?


Today is Thanksgiving, at least in some parts of the world. It is a little strange to be in a different country during the holiday this year. Since Thanksgiving is on a different day every year, I probably wouldn't have even thought about it if I hadn't been reminded by my friends and family in the US.

I always liked Thanksgiving. Part of the reason was because of the big turkey with stuffing and green beans and cranberry sauce and pecan pie. (My mouth is now watering.) And of course it is always nice to be surrounded by the people who are most important to you. But the reason I like it the most is because you get a chance to think about all the good things in your life.

So today I am especially thankful of what a lucky person I am. I am thankful for my loving and supportive family and friends. I am thankful I have always had the freedom to make my own choices in my adult life. Not all of my choices were good ones nor have they all worked out the way I wanted them to, but they have been mine and I am thankful for them.

I am also thankful that I am FINALLY finished posting the best of my pics from my trip to Laos. That task only took me five weeks to accomplish. Hopefully I can catch up on Sydney and Vietnam sooner than that.

Oh, and if you are reading this on my website, then I am of course have to say thanks for stopping by :)

Loy Kratong


Under a the 11th Full Moon last night, the Thai people celebrated Loy Kratong, or the end of the Rainy Season, by floating small boats with lit candles in the river. This, by the way, is the same festival that Rupert and I experienced in Lao a month ago watching long-boat races on the Mekong. I don't know why there is a month descrepancy though.

This time, Rupert, Todd and I did our part by joining thousands of people at the Taskin Bridge (Sapan Taskin). We didn't fight our way through the crowd to buy a candle boat, but we watched from the bridge as people took a ferry out to the middle of the river and floated their candles from there.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Holidays category.

Day Trips is the previous category.

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