Chiang Mai hosts many Thai festivals
Chiang Mai hosts many Thai festivals, including:
Loi Kratong (known locally as Yi Peng): Held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November. Every year thousands of people assemble floating banana-leaf containers (krathong) decorated with flowers and candles onto the waterways of the city to worship the Goddess of Water. Lanna-style sky lanterns (khom fai) are launched into the air. These are believed to help rid the locals of troubles and are also taken to decorate houses and streets.
Songkran: Held in mid-April to celebrate the traditional Thai new year. Chiang Mai has become one of the most popular locations to visit for this festival. A variety of religious and fun-related activities (notably the good-natured city-wide water-fight) take place each year, along with parades and a Miss Songkran beauty competition.
Flower Festival: A three-day festival held during the first weekend in February each year, this event occurs when Chiang Mai’s temperate and tropical flowers are in full bloom. The festivities include floral floats, parades, traditional dancing shows, and a beauty contest.
Tam Boon Khan Dok, the Inthakin (City Pillar) Festival, starts on the day of the waning moon of the six lunar month and lasts 6–8 days. In 2009, this is May 20–27. Centered around Wat Chedi Luang where the city pillar is housed, this is a celebration of brahmic origin. Offerings are made to the city pillar as well as the many other Buddhist and Lanna-era icons. Dancing, musical performances, carnival games, and the ubiquitous Thai vendor food is present. This is a very large celebration in which the Chiang Mai citizenry participate.
Some of the museums in Chiang Mai:
Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center.
Chiang Mai National Museum highlights the history of the region and the Kingdom of Lanna.
Tribal Museum showcases the history of the local mountain tribes.
Chiang Mai has several universities, including Chiang Mai University, Chiangmai Rajabhat University, Rajamangala University of Technology, Payap University, Far Eastern University, and Maejo University—as well as numerous technical and teacher colleges. Chiang Mai University was the first government university established outside of Bangkok. Payap University is the first private institution in Thailand that was granted university status.
Khantoke dinner is an old Lanna Thai tradition in Chiang Mai. It is an elaborate dinner or lunch which is offered by a host to guests at various ceremonies or parties, e.g. at weddings, housewarmings, celebrations, novice ordinations, or funerals. It can also be held for temple celebrations such as celebrations for specific buildings in a Thai temple and at Buddhist festivals such as Khao Pansa, Og Pansa, Loy Krathong, and Thai New Year (Songkran).