H.M. King's Birthday

Thailand Observed in Thailand

Thailand Holidays
Royal Flag of King Rama IX

When is it?

National Holiday in Thailand held annually on 5 December.

If 5 December falls on a weekend, the holiday will be observed on the following Monday.

History of the holiday

The day commemorates the birthday of the current King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej.

He is known as Rama IX, and has reigned Thailand since 9 June 1946, making him the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch ever in Thailand's history.

Despite being a constitutional monarch, and not legally being allowed a role in politics, Bhumibol has 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 colourful affair. Buildings across Thailand will display flags, bunting and portraits of the King, while around the Grand Palace area of Bangkok, the streets are decorated with thousands of marigolds.

Marigolds are chosen for their colour, as yellow is the predominant colour of the celebrations; as the King was born on a Monday and in Thailand, yellow is the colour 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.

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