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Lifestyle Curators for Thailand + Southeast Asia

Thailand Celebrates The King’s 86th Birthday

  /  DESTINATIONS   /  Thailand Celebrates The King’s 86th Birthday
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The community will be showing its enormous affection and respect for his Majesty while celebrating the birthday of world’s longest-serving monarch.

By Lucie Barke

On Tuesday, December 5, the whole of Thailand will be celebrating King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 86th birthday and Thailand’s National Day. This day is also known as Father’s Day in the Land of Smiles, and it’s a public holiday for Thais to rejoice and show their respect to the world’s longest-serving monarch.

The King, also known as Rama IX, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and completed his education in Switzerland. He was crowned King of Thailand on June 6, 1946. He took the oath of reigning with “righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people” on his coronation day, on May 5, 1950. This remains true to this day and, after 67 years of reign, he is still the most popular and revered public figure in the country.

On December 5, you will be surrounded by people wearing yellow or gold, the colors of the monarchy. Others will be wearing pink, the color of the queen. The community will be showing its enormous affection and reverence for His Majesty by decorating buildings and streets across the country to celebrate this occasion. Besides the big shopping centers, most shops and bars will be closed.

It’s worth getting down to Ratchadamnoen Road, which is the center of the celebration, on this day to see the illuminations, as Bangkok becomes a sea of colors for the next several days. There will be fireworks displays and candle ceremonies in many areas that evening; the most spectacular are likely to be at Sanam Luang in front of the Grand Palace (Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon), where cultural performances will take place.

The King also made a tradition of opening his Grand Palace to anyone for free between 7 p.m. and midnight. Many ceremonies take place throughout the day and into the evening in multiple temples, including Wat Saked (344 Avenue Road Emperor Pong Ban Bat, Pom Prap Sattru Phai district) and Wat Phra Kaew (Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Nakhon).

This year, His Majesty the King will make a public audience to members of the royal family and government officials at Klai Kangwon Palace, Hua Hin, on December 5 at 10:30 a.m. Radio and television will broadcast the event live.

We at Lookeast wish His Majesty the King of Thailand the best of health, and wonderful years ahead.

For sport lovers, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta (www.kingscup.com) will be held from November 29 to December 6, 2013, in His Majesty’s honor. This is Asia’s biggest popular regatta; it was inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the King’s 60th birthday and has been held every year since. Music lovers can attend the Royal Celebration Concert, given by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, which will be held on December 12 at the Thailand Cultural Center (www.bangkoksymphony.org).