Talk:Thai lunar calendar

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Yamara 15:35, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

The following was added anonymously into the article. As the article is my "child" I think that comment deserves preservation :-) andy

This is useful info - Srini / Khalai

Well for one thing, the Gregorian Year 2004 is 2548 in the Buddhist Era. Most cosmo thais follow the European calendar months, although there is a lunar calendar used for religious holidays. Long ago, when the Thais migrated from China, they brought their lunar system with them. However, since the agricultural (seasonal) cycles differed, the calendar was adjusted (and is different in different areas of Thailand and around SE Asia, for that matter).

The latter paragraph is incorrect. The lunar calendar came from India not from China, and is not just used for religious holidays. For all devout Buddhists it determines their weekly schedules (in particular, wan phra). The Thais did not migrate from China, they (or rather the Siamese, renamed Thais in 1942 by Field Marshal Phibul Songkhram for political reasons) migrated northwards from India (mainly via the Indianised states in the area of what is now Cambodia) and the Malay peninsula. The myth about the Siamese having come from China was propagated by Phibul Songkhram and his cohorts because of military ambitions to take over the Western colonies in the area as the Western powers retreated from them, especially those inhabited by peoples ethnically related to the Lao, such as Laos, Tonkin in Vietnam, parts of Cambodia, numerous provinces of southern China (population around a hundred million), Shan State in Burma, and Assam in India. This myth is highly propagandised by the powers that be today because 99 persent of the powers that be are ethnic Chinese, therefore it helps the Chinese justify their virtual monopoly of political and economic power in Thailand. As the Chairman of a Thai bank once said to me: "We only differ in the timing of when we came from China". However the Siamese have always eaten boiled rice and traditionally wear cotton fabrics, while all the ethnic groups closely related to the Lao traditionally (mostly still) eat sticky rice, produce their own silk and wear it, and have a great many other customs in common such as the patterns they weave on their textiles. There are a number of historical reasons for the linguistic relations, but after excluding words derived from Pali or Sanskrit and words related to law and administration, Thai vocabulary is far closer to its Mon-Khmer roots than it is to Lao. Lao dialects less strongly influenced by Siamese administration during the last few hundred years, such as Lue or Luang Prabang dialect (especially such as would be spoken in the market) are totally incomprehensible to Thai. The Buddhist calendar is essentially identical in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Sri Lanka, and the pali names are also identical. (talk) 21:12, 23 June 2010 (UTC)Bhante


To By wikify, I mean that I have attempted to make the article conform to the Wikipedia:Manual of Style so that it looks like a Wikipedia article. The principle aspects that apply to this article are: It must begin with a sentence, the subject of which is the title of the article; "See also" is a heading near the end of the article; a former version of the Wikipedia article being modified cannot be used as a reference; AD is to be written without periods; the ASCII dash '--' should be replaced by —. I have also corrected the categories so that both appear, and have italicized the titles of books. By the way, I am the author of Buddhist calendar and I have read Eade. — Joe Kress 07:11, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)


This is rather an important article, because many others refer to it for clarification of lunatic dates; but it is also rather a mess. I'm currently working on revising it in my Sandbox. Anyone want to come play with me? Pawyilee (talk) 09:09, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I went ahead and published my new version as I finally got around to reading Diller and found I had put a lot of BS in the old. For instance, Thai lunar months do have names, it's just that nobody uses them. So, I said as much but left the names out as Diller did not give Thai spellings. I also heavily revised his list at (5.3) Thai holidays and festivals regulated by the moon where he lists the last day of Moon 10 (name phatrabot) as Sa:t, food-cake presentation. I figured out the Thai spelling, and found it in the Online Royal Institute Dictionary [ORID] at สารท ๑ (สาด). (The ORID is more than a bit tricky to use.) But if you look at a current calendar, you'll find it named Tesagarn Kin Jae 9 Wan (Thai: เทศกาลกินเจ ๕ วัน) (sometimes prefixed begin), as the beginning of a Nine-day Vegetarian Festival. So, in the process I discovered we need an article on Vegetarian Festival (Thailand). Go-ogling up the subject returns many opinions that it is strictly a Chinese Buddhist phenomenon, and you can read a fairly good if un-scholarly article about it here. I feel sure Bangladeshi Madhu Purnima is related. In the latter, you can read about an elephant bringing fruit and a monkey bringing honey to Lord Buddha, and you can see those images in wats everywhere. Anyway, other bloggers think the Vegetarian Festival was invented by Thai Chinese Buddhists in the 19th C., first in Phuket but it has now spread to many other places, including a place on the calendar! Kin Jae กินเจ is also in the ORID, and if you see a restaurant displaying เจ in Chinese-like brush strokes, it's not the number 17 but the mark of a strictly vegetarian menu. I just don't know how to leap the no-original-research hurdle. Pawyilee (talk) 16:30, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Someone started Vegetarian Festival and, so far,it only about the one in Phuket. Most of the pertinent information, however, is at Nine Emperor Gods Festival#Celebration in Thailand. Pawyilee (talk) 14:31, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Any editor who can read Thai and wants to help might try เทศกาลสารท and เทศกาลสารทจีน. Pawyilee (talk) 14:50, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree the article is a mess. A few corrections: wan ook phansa marks a new year for a monk in terms of the number of rainy seasons he has completed, but is not a New Year Day in any other sense. Wan khao phansa is totally irrelevant in this respect, unless he was ordained during the vassa in which case he still has an age of 0 even one day before the vassa ends the following year! An important purpose which the lunar calendar must fulfill is to allow people to determine correctly when the vassa starts. The insertion of the extra month after the eighth month is related to this, and allows the deviations of the lunar calendar from the seasons (especially the rainy season) to be corrected. It can be expected that in the days when the seasons could not be accurately predicted astronomically, the most crucial season which might arrive later than expected would be the rainy season - coming immediately after the hot and dry season. Thus if the eighth month arrives and passes by without the rains starting (and therefore, the ability to plant rice and for the monks, the obligatory vassa), then it makes sense to add an extra eighth month. Incidentally the seasons were described by the Buddha, and his classifications together with the rules for the monks form the foundation of the Thai lunar calendar (which was originally the only calendar), so the Thai lunar calendar doesn't make much sense divorced from Buddhism! All the lunar months have Pali names, some of which are almost universally known while others are rather little known nowadays. Traditionally even news broadcasts always started with the date in the Buddhist calendar. The Kathina season starts on the full moon day at the end of the vassa and ends the day before the following full moon, therefore the table is wrong in this respect. The actual Kathina can take place on any one day in this period, and will be different in different temples (but only one day in each temple). There are numerous systems for transcribing Thai, of which at least two are authoritative. The etymologically most logical is based on the derivation of Thai characters from Indian characters, but the problem is that all the stop consonants are phonetically switched in pairs, which accounts for all the painful contradictions with respect to the Royal Institute version. The vegetarian festival is derived from Mahayana Buddhism, and is related to the agricultural cycle. It is a politically inspired myth that the word Thai means free - there is no such connection. The word originally came from the Chinese word dai meaning big (with various pronunciations and tones in different Chinese dialects, including tai in South China), and was first used by the ancestors of the Lao to denominate the nobility in a rather artificial 4-caste social classification derived from the Indian caste system, but this did not survive because it was not compatible with the nature of Lao society. Later it came to mean person, or person from ... (eg taina tailang foreguard or rearguard, taidaing people from the Red River, taidam people from the Black River, tai Muang Luang people from Luang Prabang, tai Vieng people from Vientiane, tai meng luang Ailao Shan people from the great city of the Ailao mountains abbreviated to Shan by the Burmese and to tai luang by the Siamese, etc). This Lao word tai was misunderstood by Western missionaries to mean ethnic, and the hegemonist Siamese soldier and politician Field Marshal Phibul Songkhram exploited this for propaganda to try to take over large swathes of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Southern China, Northern Burma and Assam State in India as the French and British colonialists started withdrawing from their colonies around the world. Your Sanskrit etymology is highly problematic. Above, your Tesagarn kin jae 9 wan conflicts with the Thai! I would advise against relying on Diller as a source - the cited article is highly uninformed and unprofessional. Diller even claims that the 7 day week is traditional, but it is a modern introduction from the West with no basis in traditional Asian culture. The traditional period is the 8 or sometimes 7 day quarter-moon period centered around the Buddhist uposatha days. In the early 20th century the Western week had no relevance to the ordinary rural Siamese, except when they had to deal with the administrative structures - however the government employees welcomed to take the chance of Saturday and Sunday holidays in addition to every uposatha day! (talk) 23:25, 23 June 2010 (UTC)Bhante

That "Wan khao phansa is totally irrelevant in this respect", i.e., in counting New Years, is relevant to the article, and I deleted the "totally irrelevant" entry. Most of the rest of what Bhante added to this mess on the Talk page belongs not here but at Talk:Thaification. --Pawyilee (talk) 04:03, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Kathin can be observed any day before the next full moon, but it is not accurate that a temple only does this one day (though it might have one main public day). In fact families and groups who want to participate will schedule a one (or multiple) day event at their home and one of those days go to the temple and make the offerings and have a ceremony with some of the monks. When this is done is a scheduled event in these cases. --Jeffmcneill (talk) 07:20, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Cleanup Suggestions[edit]

  • Years section should have some discussion at the beginning as to why the Thai calendar has different year lengths. This information is not presented and makes understanding the calendar hard to do. I assume it has something to do with the Lunar cycle and reading onward clarifies it, but it needs to be defined at the beginning of the year section in a clear way. I've tried to do this, but it needs to be checked by someone more knowledgable.
  • Some sections could be cleaned up and prosified to avoid the excessive use of bullet lists. I have done this with the month section to remove the excessive headings. I think it works, but what I've done should be checked.
  • The heavy use of bolding should be removed. It makes things hard to read
  • I've removed some of the language cues after they have been used the first time. Using them over and over clutters the article and makes it hard to read. This should probably be done for the whole article.
  • Some effort needs to be made to rewrite some of this material to clarify it. It seems to be unnecessarily vague in places.
  • This article contains almost no references for this material. Sourcing is needed.

--Lendorien (talk) 15:45, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

  • I've done some of the changes listed above. --Lendorien (talk) 18:00, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

How were years counted or named?[edit]

How did the traditional Thai lunar calendar count or name years? For example, the year 1601 by Western reckoning was the 6th year of the imperial era of Keicho in Japan, and the 30th year of the reign of the Wanli Emperor in China. Did the Thai calendar use some kind of era name, like China and Japan? Or did it count purely using numbers, like the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim calendars? Or did it not count at all, simply identifying the year as a Year of the Rat or Year of the Ox or whatever without actually counting years? LordAmeth (talk) 01:10, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

There was a year numbering system known as Chula Sakarat, which is claimed to have been used since the Ayutthaya (and even Sukhothai) periods. I'm not sure to what extent they were used, or what documenting evidence there actually is. Paul_012 (talk) 04:26, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

New Year Animal[edit]

Someone added, "However, the ethnic Thais will consider the year to assume a new zodiacal animal at Songkran (13 April), not at Chinese New Year." TRUE: Indic-origin Songkran is considered by many ethnic groups, including Tai, to mark the start of a new year, but authoritative citation needed to support the claim, which is FALSE as far as I know, that any of the groups, especially the Thai, use this occasion to change to the next Chinese Animal of the Year. --Pawyilee (talk) 14:05, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

If you look at the dates printed in Thai-language newspapers, you will see that the animal year does change at Songkran. --Paul_012 (talk) 15:17, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
I can confirm this, in the book by J.C.Eade (ISBN 90-04-10437-2) it is said that the only thing not sure is whether the year change occurred at the begin of the lunar month before Songkran as claimed by e.g. Coedes, whereas an inscription from 1777 CE suggests that the change occurred at Songkran itself. andy (talk) 20:51, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Okay. I'll check a paper! --Pawyilee (talk) 03:05, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

I am that "someone", and as a Thai I can only confirm that we do consider our yearly animal changed at Songkran, and not Chinese New Year. Try the Prommachat text of Thai astrology, (although I doubt if an English translation is available...) or ask any Thais. Oh, by the way, after your checking, don't you think an apology might be in order for claiming that my "claim" is false? Well, as a Thai would say, Never mind - Mai pen rai! (talk) 03:30, 18 February 2010 (UTC)thaivisitor

I wrote FALSE as far as I know, and finding out that what I thought I knew was what was false sent me scrambling after the strikethrough trick. And I wish Ahoerstemeier or Paul would replace [citation needed]. And now the Twelve-year animal cycle names table New Year's Day column must be changed to "Chinese New Year's Day." I'm trying to figure out how best to do that over in my sandbox. --Pawyilee (talk) 12:02, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Please look in my sandbox now, and see if you can improve it. I don't know how to center tables, or center info in columns (below the headings, which are centered.) --Pawyilee (talk) 12:44, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
I'll add the citation probably tonight, then I can add the page number as well. By the way, you're welcome to create an account here, then it will be more comfortable to contact you, especially if you use more than one IP. And an account is even more anonymous than the IP, which can trace where you come from... andy (talk) 13:21, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

What about the table in my sandbox? --Pawyilee (talk) 14:55, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Posted --Pawyilee (talk) 08:48, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Took my sandbox back. --Pawyilee (talk) 13:16, 22 February 2010 (UTC)


Moon 3 Wain 8 add for Wetsandon ?--Pawyilee (talk)

Etymology of patithin[edit]

Just to post a note here.

The word thin (ทิน) in patithin (ปฏิทิน, "calendar") is not from thinnakon (ทินกร, "sun"). The word thin is from Sanskrit dina, meaning day or days.

Patithin is composed of pati (ปฏิ, from Sanskrit paṭi, meaning "for, specific, separate, individual or against") and thin (ทิน, "day"). Patithin is thus from Sanskrit paṭidina and literally means: for days, specific days, day by day, day against day, each day, daily, etc.

So, thin is not from thinnakon. Thinnakon is composed of thinna (ทิน, "day" / thin is pronounced thinna when forming the first part of a compound word according to the rule of "samat" (สมาส)) and kon (กร, from Pali or Sanskrit, kara, meaning "doer or maker"). Thinnakon, from Sanskrit dinakara, literally means one who makes the day, that is, the sun.

The opposite word is rattikon (รัตติกร), from ratti (รัตติ, from Pali ratti, meaning "night") + kon. Rattikon, from Pali rattikara (Sanskrit equivalent is rātrikara), literally means one who makes the night, that is, the moon.

--Aristitleism (talk) 17:35, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Use of colour[edit]

The red and yellow is rather garish, isn't it? (talk) 11:21, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

Rather garish? You are an exemplar of understatement. Change it straightaway. Seligne (talk) 12:19, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
I have to agree, garish indeed. And the table doesn't really add much information. A list with the same info would be useful. --Jeffmcneill (talk) 07:48, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Proposed merging of Thai lunar calendar and Thai solar calendar[edit]

While one can say there are distinct lunar and solar Thai calendars, in actual practice these two always go together in a proposed Thai lunisolar calendar. That is, there are no actual manufactured calendars which do not have both kinds of events (solar, aka Jan 1, Apr 13-15, May 1, etc.) and lunar (all the lunar Buddhist holidays, including Makha Bucha through to Loi Krathong.

Proposal: Thai lunisolar calendar And changing the previous two articles into redirects to the proposed article

Having two separate entries creates confusion. One entry with discussion of both purely solar and purely lunar events and origins would be much more informative and help visitors understand both topics.

See also discussion at: <>