The events celebrated are from music festivals, to food cook offs and everything in between. There are also many official days that celebrate religious and civil occasions that the good people of Thailand pay respect on, and one such day is Chulalongkorn Day.
As a nation Thailand are firmly behind their monarchy, and respect current and past monarchs in equal measure. On the 23rd of October every year Thailand celebrates King Chulalongkorn.
Chulalongkorn Day is also known as Wan Piyamaharaj Day, and it the memorial day when Thai’s respect the passing of the great King Rama V. King Rama V was an extraordinary king and led major reforms in Thailand in many areas including, the Thai Education System, Military Affairs, State Railway and the liberation of slaves.
King Chulalongkorn is the fifth monarch of the Chakri dynasty, and is better known as King Rama V. His father was King Mongkut who was King Rama IV and Queen Thepsirinthara.
He was coronated in 1868 when he was only sixteen years old, and because of his tender age Somdet Chaophrayabo was appointed as King’s Regent. The young king studied arts and sciences and made state trips to Singapore, Java and India.
King Chulalongkorn is known as one of the greatest kings that Thailand has ever had, and his reign extended from 1868 to 1910. During that period the country under his leadership saw many changes.
There was extensive social change and progressive economic growth. Also he was responsible for the abolishment of slavery, and brought back to Thailand ardent nationalism by fending off external European influence and colonialism which was not the case in nearby Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The wise king prevented colonization by extending friendships and growing relationships with countries such as America, Great Britain, Russia and France. And still today Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been colonized.
King Chulalongkorn was the first Thai king to send his sons to be educated in Europe, and during his lifetime there was more freedom of speech in the Kingdom.
The Abolishment of Slavery
Perhaps King Rama V most significant achievement was the abolishment of slavery. In 1900 the new Employment Act stated that all workers in Thailand must be paid and all slaves were freed so that they would not become unemployed.
His own royal contribution was his announcement of the Slave Abolition Act. It was this that brought him the title Beloved Great King of all people of Siam.
The celebrations of Chulalongkorn Day include Thai’s showing respect and laying wreaths at the Equestrian Statue in Bangkok at the Royal Plaza. All over the rest of the country there will be civic celebrations at state buildings.