Thai lunar calendar: Wikis


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The Thai lunar calendar (Thai: ปฏิทินจันทรคติ Patitin Chantarakati) (literally, Against-the-Sun Moon-Ways) is Thailand's version of the lunisolar Buddhist calendar used in the southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Laos and Burma. Based on the third-century Surya Siddhanta Hindu calendar, these combine lunar and solar calendars for a nominal year of 12 months. An extra day or an extra 30-day month is intercalated at regular intervals; Thai, Lao, and Cambodian versions do not add an extra day to years with an extra month.


Legal v. religious calendar

The Thai solar calendar, Patitin Suriyakati (Thai: ปฏิทินสุริยคติ), Thailand's version of the Gregorian calendar, replaced the Patitin Chantarakati in AD 1888 / 2431 BE for legal and commercial purposes. In both calendars, the four principal lunar phases determine Buddhist Sabbaths (uposatha), which are obligatory holy days for observant Buddhists. Significant days also include feast days. Thai Chinese likewise observe their Sabbaths and traditional Chinese holidays according to lunar phases. These move with respect to the solar calendar, so common Thai calendars incorporate Thai and Chinese calendar lunar dates for religious purposes.

Mundane astrology also figures prominently in Thai culture, resulting in modern Thai birth certificates that include lunar calendar dates and the appropriate Chinese calendar animal for Hora (astrology) (Thai: โหราศาสตร์ โหราสาต ho-ra-sat) and Chinese astrology.


(For detailed discussion, see Lunar phase.)

To keep years in sync with the seasons, Thai lunar years may add a day to the 7th month, or may repeat the 8th month, so may have one of three lengths—354, 355 or 384 days—yet retain a nominal length of twelve months.

  • 354 day-long years consist of 12 normal months, and such a year is called a normal-month year (Thai: ปกติมาส (ปีปะกะติมาด Pee-pa-ga-ti-mat)).
  • 355 day-long years add an extra day to the normally 29-day-long 7th month; such a year is called an extra-day year (Thai: ปีอธิกวาร (ปีอะทิกะวาน Pee-a-ti-ga-wan)).
AD 2004/2547BE Extra month ended August 15
  • 384 day-long years repeat the 30-day-long 8th month, thus keeping the month count at 12. Nevertheless, a year of 384 days is called an extra-month year (Thai: ปีอธิกมาส (ปีอะทิกะมาด Pee-a-ti-ga-mat)).

New year

The Thai lunar calendar does not mark the beginning of a new year when it starts a new 1-to-12 count, which occurs most frequently in December (See Month 1, below).

Wan Khao Phansah

The Thai solar calendar determines a person's legal age, and secular holidays, including the civil new year as well as the three days of the traditional Thai New Year's feast. Should holidays fall on a weekend, it also accommodates these as well as some of the Principal lunar festivals with a compensatory day off Thai: วันชดเชย.

Wan Khao Phansah วันเข้าพรรษา counts as a new year for monks; note that 2 August 2004 was the compensatory day off วันชดเชย for a Wan Khao Phansah that fell on a Sunday.

The Chinese calendar determines the day that a year assumes the name of the next animal in the twelve-year animal cycle.

Twelve-year animal cycle names

Gregorian year New Year's Day Thai Sign
1998 January 28 ปีขาล 虎 Tiger
1999 February 16 ปีเถาะ 兔 Rabbit
2000 February 5 ปีมะโรง 龍 Dragon (Big snake)
2001 January 24 ปีมะเส็ง 蛇 Snake (Little snake)
2002 February 12 ปีมะเมีย 馬 Horse
2003 February 1 ปีมะแม 羊 Goat
2004 January 22 ปีวอก 猴 Monkey
2005 February 9 ปีระกา 雞 Rooster
2006 January 29 ปีจอ 狗 Dog
2007 February 18 ปีกุน 豬 Pig
2008 February 7 ปีชวด 鼠 Rat
2009 January 26 ปีฉลู 牛 Ox
2010 February 14 ปีขาล 虎 Tiger
2011 February 3 ปีเถาะ 兔 Rabbit


For more details on this topic, see month.
Note: this information applies only to the modern Thai lunar calendar, and is insufficient for deciphering lunar dates calculated in other modes.

Months (Deuan, Thai: เดือน, meaning "month" or "Lunation") in the Thai calendar are defined by lunar cycles. Successive months (or lunations) are numbered from 1 to 12 within the Thai year. As in other Buddhist calendars, these months have names that derive from Sanskrit, but for the most part would only be known by Thai astrologers (Prasert Na Nagara 1998:524, cited in Diller).[1]

Two successive lunations take slightly more than 59 days. The Thai lunar calendar approximates this interval with normal-month (Thai: ปรกติมาสฅ ปกกะติมาด Pok-ga-ti-mat) pairs of 29 and 30 day months: 29 if an odd-numbered month (Thai: เดือนคี่ deuan kêe); 30 if an even-numbered month (Thai: เดือนคู่ deuan kôo). A 29-day lunation is called a hollow month (Thai: เดือนขาด deuan kàat); a 30-day lunation is called a full month (Thai: เดือนถ้วน deuan tûan). To keep the beginning of the month in sync with the new moon, from time to time either a normally hollow Month 7 takes an extra day, or an extra full Month 8 follows normal full Month 8. Note also that Months 1 and 2 are named in archaic alternate numbers, with the remainder being named in modern numbers.[1]

Numbered months

The first month, Deuan Aai (Thai: เดือนอ้าย) begins the cycle of counting the months anew, most frequently in December, but does not signify the beginning of a new year.[1] Aai, an archaic word in Thai but not in other dialects, means first-born (or eldest).[2] An odd-numbered hollow month, it is 29 days long.

The second month, Deuan Yi, (Thai: เดือนยี่ from archaic ญี่ meaning 2)[2] is an even-numbered full month that is 30 days long.

Months three though six, Deuan 3–6, use the modern way to read numbers as do all remaining months. Months 3–6, as they alternate odd and even are alternately 29-day hollow months or 30-day full months.

Month seven, Deuan 7, a hollow month, is normally 29 days long in years of 354 days, but adds an extra day (Thai: อธิกวาร (อะทิกะวาน A-ti-ga-wan)) when required for 355-day-long extra-day years (Thai: ปีอธิกวาร (ปีอะทิกะวาน Pee-a-ti-ga-wan)).

The eighth month, Deuan 8, is a 30-day full month.

July 14 2007.jpg
July 15 2007.jpg

When an extra month (Thai: อธิกมาส (อะทิกะมาด a-ti-ga-mat)) is needed for a 384-day-long extra-month year (Thai: ปีอธิกมาส (ปีอะทิกะมาด Pee-a-ti-ga-mat)), Month 8 repeats as เดือน ๘/๘ Month 8/8, variously read as —

Deuan Bad dap Bad —Month 8 slash 8,
Deuan Bad Song Khang —Month 8 Side Two, or
Deuan Bad Song Hon —Month 8 Time Two in the Isan language.

The last four months, Deuan 9–12, complete the lunar cycle.

Month divisions

Months divide into two periods designated by whether they are waxing or waning:

Khang Kuen ข้างขึ้น 
Waxing, the period from new moon to full moon, which is
15 days, always
Khang Raem ข้างแรม 
Waning, the period from full moon to new moon, which is
14 days in odd-numbered hollow months, except when Month 7 adds the extra day (Thai: อธิกวาร (อะทิกะวาน A-ti-ga-wan)); otherwise
15 days.
Note: when not compounded with other words or syllables:
ข้าง [at, on, or to the] side
ขึ้น to rise or mount
แรม to tire or retire.


A week is Thai: สัปดาห์ or สัปดาหะ, pronounced สับ-ดา sàb-da, สับ-ปะ-ดา sàb-phà-daa, or สับ-ดา-หะ sàb-da-hà. From a Sanskrit word for "seven", it is now defined by the On-line Royal Institute Dictionary (ORID) as a 7 day period beginning on Sunday and ending Saturday. When referring to lunations, however, it is the 7-, 8- or (rarely) 9-day interval between quartile lunar phases; that is, from one วันพระ wan prà to the next.


While solar-calendar weekdays have names, lunar-calendar days number sequentially from 1 to 14 or 15 in two segments depending on whether the moon is waxing or waning. Examples:

Kuen 1 Kham Deuan 1 ขึ้น ๑ ค่ำ เดือน ๑  
Waxing 1 Evening [of] Month 1, on to
Raem 15 Kham Deuan 12 แรม ๑๕ ค่ำ เดือน ๑๒  
Waning 15 Evening [of] Month 12.
Note: Kham ค่ำ Evening, nowadays is generally taken as the evening of the common day that begins and ends at midnight, rather than of a day that begins and ends at dusk. Past practice may have been different. See Wan Wy Phra Chan, below.

Named lunar days

  • Wan Phra วันพระ Day(s) Holy [to Buddhists] ; also called
    • Wan Thamma Sawana วันธรรมสวนะ (วันทำมะสะวะนะ) religious holy day(s) ; Buddhist Sabbath(s) ; regularly fall on:
      • Kuen 8 ขึ้น ๘ first-quarter moon
      • Kuen 15 ขึ้น ๑๕ full moon; also called
        • Wan Phen วันเพ็ญ day [of] full [moon].
          • Wan Duan Phen (Thai: วันเดือนเพ็ญ), the actual day of the full moon and Khuen 15 Kham do not always fall on the same day.
      • Raem 8 แรม ๘ third-quarter moon; and
      • Raem 14 (15) แรม ๑๔ (๑๕) last day of the lunar month; also called
        • Wan Dab วันดับ day [moon is] quenched, [or goes] out.
  • Wan Wy Phra Chan วันไหว้พระจันทร์
Day [of] Respect [for] the Holy Moon
actual day the Harvest moon becomes full
Kuen 14 (15) Kham Deuan 10 ขึ้น ๑๔ (๑๕) ค่ำ เดือน ๑๐
Waxing 14(15) Evening, Month 10.

Holidays regulated by the moon

Buddhist Sabbaths, colloquial Thai: วันพระ Wan Phra, are the New, First-quarter, Full, and Third-quarter Moon-days. These are not normally days off Thai: วันยุด wan-yoot, except for butcher, barber and beautician shops that observe the Eight Precepts.

Annual holidays and seasonal festivals collectively are called Thai: วันนักขัตฤกษ์ วันนักขัดตะเริก Wan nak-khad-ta-roek.

Festivals or fairs are Thai: เทศกาล (เทสะกาน) thet-sa-garn; these may be further styled as Thai: ประเพณี pra-pen-nee traditional; and as Thai: พืธิ pit-ti, rite or ceremony. The table shows the principal ones governed by the moon in yellow.
Work holidays prescribed by the government as days off from work or school are Thai: วันหยุดราชการ วันหยุดราชากาน Wan-yoot-ra-cha-gan; those regulated by the moon are red.
Weekends are normally days off; if a holiday normally observed by a day off falls on a weekend, the following Monday is a compensatory day off Thai: วันชดเชย Wan chod-choey.
Work holidays and festivals regulated by the moon: x = waxing moon; n = waning
Mo. Day Event ไทย Comment
3† 1x Chinese New Year ตรุษจีน Most shops owned by Chinese-Thai close
3 15x Magha Puja วันมาฆบูชา Makha Bucha
6 15x Vesak วิสาขบูชา Visakha Bucha
8‡ 15x Asalha Puja อาสาฬหบูชา Asarnha Bucha
8‡ 1n Wan Kao Pansa วันเข้าพรรษา Begin Rains Retreat, or Buddhist Lent
10 15n Thetsagarn Sart เทศกาลสารท Vegetarian Festival[3](Thai: เทศกาลกินเจ Thet-sa-gan Kin-je)
11 15x Wan Awk Pansa วันออกพรรษา End Rains Retreat, or Buddhist Lent''
11 1n Thod Kathin ทอดกฐิน Presentation of Monk's Robes after Rains Retreat
12 15x Loy Krathong ลอยกระทง In Northern Thailand, this is Duean Yi and the Yee Peng Lantern Festival


† Chinese New Year uses different methods of determining intercalary months, so this festival sometimes occurs a month earlier or later.
‡ Month 8/8 in years with the extra month.

Thai year vocabulary

Thai orthography spells most native words phonetically, though there is no definitive system for transcription into Roman letters. Here, native Thai words are immediately followed by a vocabulary entry in this pattern:

Phonetic Thai (Thai phonetic respelling, if different) [Comment] definition; variant definitions.


Tai ไทย (ไท) [Archaic] free, frank; Thai race, language, alphabet ; citizen of Thailand.

Sanskrit loan words follow different rules [the way English grammatical rules vary for words of Greek and Latin origin ('ph-' in 'phonetic' being pronounced /f/, for example.)] Entered below in order of first appearance, these vocabulary entries are in this pattern:

Sanskrit สันสกฤต (สันสะกริด /san-sa-krit/)  

Literally means "self-made" or "self-done", or "cultured" in a modern usage (which implies the language of cultured persons); Sanskrit alphabet, language, writing; [presumed] compound of

  • san สัน (-/son/) derived from the word, "saṃ" meaning "self, together, with"
  • skrit สกฤต (สะกริต /sa-krit/) derived from the word "(s)kar" meaning "do or make".
Chantarakati จันทรคติ (จันทะระคะติ) 
Lunar Calendar; compound of
  • Chantara- จันทร- (จันทะระ /chontara/) : Chon จันทร์ (จัน) moon, lunar +
  • Kati คติ (คะติ) : ways, principles; moral [of a tale].
Patitin ปฏิทิน (ปะติทิน) 
Calendar; compound of
  • Pati- ปฏิ- (ปะติ-) : anti-, re- +
  • -tin (-ทิน) : [from tinnagorn ทินกร (ทินะกอน) - poetical for] the sun, Sol
    • [possibly in the sense of 'tint' + - gorn -กร – -er, -or: paint-er].
Patitin Chantarakati ปฏิทินจันทรคติ (ปะติทินจันทะระคะติ) 
"Resolarized Moon-Ways", Lunisolar Calendar
Suriyakati สุริยคติ (สุริยะคะติ) 
Solar Ways, Solar Calendar; compound of
  • Suriya สุริย or สุริยะ : Athit อาทิตย์, the sun, Sol +
  • Kati คติ (คะติ) : ways, principles; moral [of a tale].
Prokatimas ปรกติมาส (ปฺรกกะติมาด /pro-ko-ti-maht/) 
normal month; compound of
  • Prokati ปรกติ (ปฺรกกะติ) : pokiti ปกติ (ปะกะติ) ordinary, usual, normal +
  • Mas มาส (มาด /maht/) : du-an (เดือน) month.
Athikamas อธิกมาส (อะทิกะมาด /a-ti-ka-maht/) 
month added in leap-month lunar years
Athikawara อธิกวาร (อะทิกะวาน /a-ti-ka-wahn/) 
day added in leap-day lunar years; compound of
  • Athika (Sanskrit: adhika) : additional +
  • -wara วาร (วาน /wahn/) : wan วัน day.
[Athikasuratin อธิกสุรทิน (อะทิกะสุระทิน)] 
[day added to February in a solar leap year.]

See also


  • Diller, Anthony; Preecha Juntanamalaga (December 1995). "Thai Time". International Conference on Tai Languages and Cultures, Thammasat University. Australian National University. Archived from the original on 2002-12-10. Retrieved 22 June 2008.  
  • Eade, J.C. The calendrical systems of mainland south-east Asia. ISBN 90-04-10437-2 (Cited by Diller & Preecha)
  • Sethaputra, So. New Model English - Thai Dictionary, ISBN 974-08-3253-9
  1. ^ a b c Diller, Anthony; Preecha Juntanamalaga (2000). "Thai Time". Faculty of Asian Studies Australian National University. p. 25. Archived from the original on 2002-01-10. Retrieved 2008-05-08. "(5.1) ...names would be known only by Thai astrologers (Prasert Na Nagara 1998:524)."  
  2. ^ a b On-line Royal Institute Dictionary (ORID - 1999).
  3. ^ The Vegetarian Festival (Thai: เทศกาลวันสารท Tesagarn Wan Sat) (see สารท ๑), now appears on calendars as Tesagarn Kin Jae 9 Wan (Thai: เทศกาลกินเจ ๕ วัน), (begin) Nine-day Vegetarian Festival. Kin Jae กินเจ means (to vow) in the manner of Vietnamese or Chinese Buddhists to eat a strict vegetarian diet. (Thai: กินเจ, กินแจ ก. ถือศีลอย่างญวนหรือจีน โดยกินอาหารจำพวกผักล้วน ไม่มีเนื้อสัตว์.)

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