Father’s Day in Thailand

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Of the many public holidays on Thailand’s calendar, King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Birthday on 05 December has long been one of the most prominent. Until his death aged 88 on 13 October 2016, this holiday had long been celebrated as the King’s Birthday, as well as being marked as Father’s Day.

That also continued to be the case on 05 December 2016, which fell during Thailand’s year-long period of mourning following King Bhumibol’s passing. As of 2017, though, the King’s Birthday public holiday has moved to 28 July, the birthday of new King Vajiralongkorn, or King Rama X. Nevertheless, 05 December remains an important public holiday in remembrance of King Bhumibol, and is now known as King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Birthday Anniversary.

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The history and future of King Bhuimbol’s birthday

King Bhumibol, born on 05 December 1927 in the US state of Massachusetts, was widely revered by people across Thailand, and consequently, his birthday has long since given rise to a large number of celebrations and festivities across the country annually. In view of his death, it is likely that going forward these occasions will take on a more commemorative tone than their previous celebratory nature, but will nonetheless serve as an annual opportunity to remember the late king.

As King Bhumibol was seen by many as the symbolic father of Thailand, 05 December has also long been celebrated as father’s day nationwide – in the same way as mother’s day falls on 12 August, the birthday of Queen Sirikit – and this has not been changed since his passing. On the occasion of father’s day, Thais pay respect to their father and grandfather, often offering them a canna flower, similar to a lily and known in Thai as dok phuttha raksa (ดอกพุทธรักษา).