When: October 23
History: Chulalongkorn is one of the most revered kings of Thailand. The Chulalongkorn Day is celebrated to commemorate his death on October 23, 1910. He became the king at the age of 16 and ruled the country for 42 years. His long reign is proof of his prudence and innovation. He managed to keep the independence of Thailand despite the extending influence of colonial powers such as Portugal, France, and Great Britain.
About the Festival: The Chulalongkorn Day is a celebration held every year on October 23rd in Thailand to commemorate the leadership and diplomacy of King Chulalongkorn. Every province in Thailand celebrates at least one memorial to the king. These memorials serve as their offerings in his honour. You can see portraits of King Chulalongkorn during this day for it is believed to bring good luck for businesses. So, a number of shops carry the images of the present king along with his grandfather. You can also see his picture at the back of the 100 Baht note of Thailand. The first university in Thailand was founded in 1917 and the seat of learning of Bangkok was named after the king. At the present time, students refer to the university as “Chula.”
As a sign of respect for the great king, a number of Thais place wreaths at the Equestrian Statue. The statue is found at the Royal Plaza in Dusit District, and is filled with people during this public holiday. Since this part of Bangkok was built originally during the reign of the King, it bears the architectural combination of European and Thai styles of the era. Aside from the Royal Plaza, smaller scaled ceremonies were held in other statues of the king all around the Kingdom of Thailand. Most businesses are open; however, government organizations are usually closes on this day.
Travel tips: When visiting for the Chulalongkorn Day, keep in mind the following tips. First, Thailand is Buddhist nation so avoid committing blasphemous acts to evade imprisonment. Second, show respect to the Royal family of the Thais. Third, Thai women are conservative so avoid touching them without their consent. Fourth, dress appropriately. Public display of affection is not tolerated and skinny dipping is prohibited. When talking to people older than you, use the word “khun”. Thais usually address one another by their first names. Lastly, do not ruffle the hair of a Thai nor touch his head. The head is considered sacred by the Thais. If you touch their heads unintentionally, apologize immediately.
Conclusion: Chulalongkorn Day is a special public holiday in Thailand. If you happen to be in Thailand during this day, try to visit the Royal Plaza or any statue of King Chulalongkorn nearby. You will be amazed with the devotion that the Thai people show their late leader as a sign of respect. You can also bring wreaths and flowers to show your respect. This is also the best time to meet many Thais and get to know their culture.
Category: Thailand Festivals