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Chakri Memorial Day – why is it a public holiday in Thailand?

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PHOTO: The memorial for Rama 1, the first King of the Chakri Dynasty in Thailand

April 6 is a prominent holiday for Thais as they commemorate Chakri Memorial Day which remembers King Rama 1, the Founder of the Chakri Dynasty, which continues to this date. The current King Maha Vajiralongkorn is Rama X, the tenth Thai King of the Chakri Dynasty.

Officially known as ‘King Buddha YodfaChulaloke the Great Day and Chakri Dynasty Memorial Day’, Chakri Memorial Day commemorates the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty by Rama I in 1782. In 1919, King Rama VI granted permission to set the date as a public holiday for all Thais to commemorate the coronation of King Rama I and the work of all Kings and Royal Family in the Chakri Dynasty.

Rama I was the founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom and the first monarch of the reigning Chakri dynasty of Siam. His full title in Thai is Phra Bat SomdetPhraParamorurachaMahachakkriborommanatPhraPhutthayotfaChulalok (in Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระปรโมรุราชามหาจักรีบรมนารถ พระพุทธยอดฟ้าจุฬาโลก).

He ascended the throne in 1782, after defeating a rebellion which had deposed King Taksin of Thonburi, the former capital of Siam. He was also celebrated as the founder of Rattanakosin (now Bangkok) as the new capital of the reunited kingdom. Rattanakosin island, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, is still the home of the Grand Palace and many prominent historic buildings in the capital.

Chakri Memorial Day not only commemorates the coronation of Rama I but is also a day for the people of Thailand to recognise the contributions of all ten kings in the dynasty.

The current and tenth King is HM King Vajiralongkorn PhraVajiraklaochaoyuhua, who succeeded his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October 2016. Mis Majesty, accompanied by other members of the royal family, will presides over religious ceremonies held at the royal chapel.

Government offices, schools and banks are closed. Most other businesses are open as usual on this day although it is a public holiday. The commemoration is always held on April 6, just a week before the annual Songkran (Thai New Year) holiday.

Chakri Memorial Day - why is it a public holiday in Thailand? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: The 10 Kings of Thailand’s Chakri Dynasty

 

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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