Do Thai’s celebrate Christmas? As most Thai’s are Buddhist most do not celebrate it as such, but the smaller Christian community most certainly do!
Thai’s being Thai also means that no matter what their beliefs are they will always join in a party. So you will usually see non-Christian Thai’s at a Christmas party but not at church – especially if they see the tourists enjoying food and drink!
Thai’s are very sociable especially when it comes to food & drink – you will often be invited as a stranger to join them in a meal. They expect the same thing. If they inquire as to what is going on it is very polite to ask them to join you as they would do to you. Whether Christmas or not.
Christianity vs Buddhism
While Christianity worships the father, God & the son Jesus, Buddhists worship the Lord Buddha who is not considered a god.
Buddhism began around 2,500 years ago in India and the Thai calendar is based on this even though the Christian calendar is often used in day to day life.
Some argue that Buddhism is not even a religion as a result but a philosophy based on that suffering is inherent in life that it can be overcome by using wisdom, virtue & concentration. They believe in re-birth in some living form whether human or animal until enlightenment is achieved.
Enlightenment to a Buddhist means finding out the truth about life. This ends the cycle of rebirth as they have then found nirvana and are not born again. They believe they achieve this by following the middle path.
This means living a life of moderation between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification.
Many believe that Buddhists’ are vegetarian but most are not.
Christmas in larger Thai cities
In a general way, Thai’s are more likely to enjoy the Christmas spirit in larger cities or tourist destinations rather than those in small villages.
Simply because they all enjoy, as Christians do of going to the malls with all the decorations, tinsel and overall atmosphere. What kid doesn’t enjoy having their photo taken in front of a beautiful Christmas tree?
With western culture encroaching on Thai culture some will even give gifts to their children and have a bigger meal even in their own homes.
Bankok and Chiang Mai as the two largest cities that see the most tourists are good places to enjoy the festivities although the high season crowds and prices may deter some.
Again, Thai’s do not need a reason to join into a good time. Halloween and St Valentines day likewise.
Yes, many Thai’s celebrate Christmas no matter whether they are Christian, Buddhist or have any other beliefs. Santa hats will be seen on Christmas day.
It is also one of the high season periods for domestic tourism at this time of the year. Locals often holiday in the week between Christmas and the western new year.
Half the country is often on the move for a week or more. Book early for both accommodation and transport.
Chiang Mai and the other northern provinces, in particular, fill up fast as both international the domestic tourists from further south who want to experience the cooler or even cold weather and the often beautiful fog covered mountains. It is never ever cold in Bangkok so out come the coats and gloves once the temperature drops below 25C. Brrr.
Baktrax can arrange a custom made Christmas and new year holiday to the lesser-known provinces so as to avoid the crowds and higher prices for the most part. Book early still.
Leave the more popular destinations for low season.