Chiang Mai was the capital of Lanna Thai for a long time. It was attacked frequently and finally came under the control of Ayutthaya, then Burma. In 1774 King Taksin of Thailand recovered it from the Burmese. Since then Chiang Mai has been a province of Thailand.
Culture : Perhaps the most important asset Chiang Mai can claim is its people. Their beauty, hospitality and good manners are legendary throughout Thailand. In the past, Chaing Mai has been a city of economic, religious and political importance. Present-day culture has very deep roots.Chiang Mai has its own dialect and its own cuisine. These have given it a sense of cultural security.
Chiang Mai celebrates many annual festivals. Three are particularly lively and lovely. These are: the "Flower Carnival, the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of every February; "Songkran", 13-15 April each year; and "Yi Peng" on the full moon day of the twelfth lunar month(generally mid-November).
The Flower Carnival celebrates the period when Chiang Mai's temperate and tropical flowers are in full bloom and is characterised by colorful floral floats and parades.It is held every first weekend of February. The north is noted for its rich variety of flowering plants, particularly temperate-zone specimens which are at their best during this cool month. Spectacular floral floats are a memorable feature of this annual event held in Chiang Mai There are displays of flowers, handicraft sales, and beauty contests.
Songkran celebrates the traditional Thai New Year. Chiang Mai celebrates Songkran with special elation in a 3-day carousal of religious merit-making, pilgrimages, beauty parades, dancing and uninhibited, good-natured water throwing.
It is held during April 13-15. Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated all over the country but nowhere with more enthusiasm than in Chiang Mai. Part of the celebration is religious, marked by merit-making ceremonies at local temples and part is pure pleasure, with good natured water throwing, parades, and beauty contests.
Yi Peng Loi Krathong is Thailand's loveliest festival. Under the full moon, on lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and klongs, people float banana-leafboats bearing lighted candles, incense, flowers and small coins to honor water spirits and float away the past year's sins. It is held every November. In Chiang Mai, an unusual part of the Loi Krathong celebration is the Yi Peng Loi Festival or the ritual of the lighted balloon. After a day of merit-making, people launch colorful hot air paper balloons into the sky, carrying their troubles away. In the evening, all homes and shops are decorated with beautiful lanterns. Later, traditional Krathongs are also floated on the river and other waterways.