Thailand celebrates its national day on December 5. The day commemorates the birthday of its revered king, King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1927 and was commonly observed also as “National Father's Day”. Despite his passing, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that the date will be continuously commemorated as the national day. (Chiang Mai City Life, 2017)
Who Is King Bhumibol Adulyadej?
Still widely-revered in Thailand, the king was in the past seen as a stabilizing influence in a country which, during his reign, has seen numerous military coups, 19 constitutions and even more prime ministers (Bangkok Post, 2016).
Though he is a constitutional monarch with limited powers, many Thais regard him as semi-divine, and his usually opaque public utterances are minutely dissected for advice to his people.
Officially the King is above politics, but King Bhumibol has intervened in times of high tension, and is credited with finding non-violent resolutions to some crises.
Known as Rama IX, he reigned Thailand since 9 June 1946 until his death on 13 October 2016, making him the longest-reigning monarch ever in Thailand's history (Officeholidays, 2017).
Despite being a constitutional monarch, and not legally being allowed a role in politics, Bhumibol made several decisive interventions in the Thai political sphere and has been credited with helping facilitate Thailand's transition to democracy in the 1990s.
The holiday itself is a colorful affair. Buildings across Thailand will display flags, bunting and portraits of the late King, while around the Grand Palace area of Bangkok, the streets are decorated with thousands of marigolds.
Marigolds are chosen for their color, as yellow is the predominant color of the celebrations; as the King was born on a Monday and in Thailand, yellow is the color for Monday.
In the evening, the streets around Ratchadamnoen and Sanam Luang are closed to traffic and many people come to watch celebratory fireworks displays.
- Bangkok Post (2016). In Remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej 1927 - 2016. Retrieved from https://www.bangkokpost.com/nation-in- mourning/
- Chiang Mai City Life (9 February 2017). Thailand Has a New National Day. Retrieved from http://www.chiangmaicitylife.com/news/thailand-has- a- new-national-day/
- Office Holidays (2016). King Bhumibol’s Birthday Retrieved from: http://www.officeholidays.com/countries/thailand/king-bhumibols- birthday.php
- Royal Cremation Ceremony for H.M.King Bhumibol Adulyadej. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-P-pmdCWjY
- National Day Parade 2010 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5eQD7ulvt8