BANGKOK — Thai-Chinese civil servants will no longer need to ask for a day off to meet relatives for the Lunar New Year in the Year of the Ox – the government is set to designate it as an official holiday for the first time.
Chinese New Year is among four new occasions to be celebrated as government holidays in the next calendar year per a Cabinet resolution, deputy government spokeswoman Trisulee Trisoranakul said Tuesday. Holidays exclusive to some regions, based on local traditions, will also be introduced for the first time.
“The government’s measure of special holidays and regional holidays is to boost tourism and the economy. We’ve seen that during long holidays, people travel and spend, boosting the country’s economy,” Trisulee said.
But don’t book your flights for overseas vacation just yet (oh wait, you can’t anyway!). All of the extra holidays in 2021 are considered government holidays (วันหยุดราชการ) and not national holidays (วันหยุดนักขัตฤกษ์) – meaning that they will mostly apply to civil servants. Financial institutions and private corporations may or may not close down their businesses on those days. So check with your employers later.
Trisulee also said individual government agencies may choose to stay open during any of those extra holidays if they believe a closure will “affect members of the public” who require crucial services.
Last of all, note that the government said these new holidays are meant to be a one-time experimental addition exclusive to 2021, and not to reoccur in the following years.
Feb. 12: Chinese New Year
April 12: Extra Songkran, in addition to the existing dates of April 13 to 15
July 27: A substitute holiday for the beginning of Buddhist Lent on July 25 which falls on Sunday
Sept. 24: Mahidol Day, to commemorate the death of King Rama X’s grandfather in 1929
Government departments in the Northern Region also receive a holiday on March 26 for people to pay respect to Buddhist relics at temples (wai phra that). Isaan scores a holiday on May 10 for the Rocket Festival, while the South gets Oct. 6 off for the Sart Thai festival.
Bangkokians and central provinces, rejoice: Oct. 21 will be a government holiday to mark the end of Buddhist Lent.
But wait, there’s more. King Chulalongkorn Memorial Day will be moved from Oct. 23 to Oct. 22 to create a three-day weekend (it was initially moved to Oct. 25).
All in all, if things proceed as planned, these new dates will give civil servants a whopping 24 days off in the year!