Thailand is a beautiful place year round. In October the Northern and Central parts of Thailand begin to retract from the rainy seasons and places like Chiang Mai and Pai are particularly beautiful, cool and uncrowded. The Autumn equinox takes place in Chiang Mai, Thailand at the end of September. This year the equinox fell on September 22, 2016 – as of that day, days and nights are approximately the same length of time, rather then nights being longer then days or vise versa. Contrary to popular belief, equinoxes are not day-long events, even though many cultures choose to celebrate it as such. Instead, they occur at the exact moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s Equator. At this instant, the Earth’s rotational axis is neither tilted away from nor towards the Sun.
The Thai culture doesn’t celebrate the equinox like the Chinese do with the Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival which celebrates the abundance of the summer’s harvest. Or as the Japanese celebrate “Higan” in both the September and March equinoxes. Higan means the “other shore” and refers to the spirits of the dead reaching Nirvana and is expressed by a week of Buddhist services in which the people remember the dead by visiting, cleaning and decorating their graves.
In October there is only one nationally observed holiday which falls on October 23, 2016 and will be observed on Monday, October 24th. King Chulalongkorn Day or “Wan Piyamaharaj Day” is a memorial day to reverently remember and appreciate one of the most highly respected kings of Thailand’s past. King C reigned from 1868 to 1910 and made positive extensive changes the economic and social fields of Thailand. One of his greatest achievements includes the abolition of slavery through the Slave Abolition Act. At the beginning of his reign more then one-third of the Thai population were enslaved; In 1900 the Employment Act stated that all workers should be paid. All the slaves in Thailand were freed so that they would not become unemployed.
King C also modernized the government and streamlined the administration of the country by dividing it into provinces and districts. The traditional lunar calendar was replaced with the Western calendar. At the time and still today, Siam is a predominantly Buddhist country but he made it clear that other religions should have the freedom to practice without fear of persecution. Communications in the country were improved greatly with the introduction of postal services, the telegraph and the construction of Thailand’s first railway (from Bangkok to Ayutthaya).
Read more about the Chulalongkorn Day.