By: Jeab Meechai- Thailand Country Director
In Thailand, the 12th of August is celebrated as the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and the entire country immerses in celebrations. As the Queen is also seen as being the mother of all Thai people, this day is also celebrated as ‘Mother’s Day.’ The first Mother’s Day/ Queen’s birthday celebration was in 1976. Ever since then, the 12th August has been celebrated as Mother’s Day. Thai people celebrate this day because of the queen’s benevolence towards needy and poor in the nation. The Queen has captured the hearts of Thai people through her devotion toward welfare and well- being of her people.
A few weeks before the Queen’s birthday, preparations start at full swing. People all around the country raise Thai flags and decorate their houses with the portrait of Her Majesty the Queen. This is their way of expressing their loyalty and honor to her. Similarly, local businesses are decorated with her portraits, garlands, and colorful lights. In Bangkok, the area around the Grand Palace is decorated with colorful lights and a fireworks display is held.
On the 12th August, early in the morning government officials, royal army, students and teachers gather around the high tower clock. They form a procession and walk to the king’s palace. On the way to the palace, the band plays popular music pieces. After arrival at the King’s palace, the procession presents flowers to the representative of HM the Queen. It’s followed by the song ”Mother of Kingdom’, praising both Queen and King. In the evening there is a ceremony at the Queen’s garden, where government officials light candles. In this way, they pay respect to the Queen and ask for her long life.
This day is not only limited to the birthday celebration of the Queen; Thai people also take this day as an opportunity to thank their dear mothers for their unconditional love. Mother’s day morning in Thailand starts by giving alms to the monks. Following the Thai tradition, kids kneel down before their mother to show their love and gratitude. They present her with white jasmine flowers or garlands. In return, mothers shower their blessings on the kids. On this day, white jasmine flowers are a common sight in Thailand as they are the symbol of maternal love. The white color of the flower symbolizes the purity of mother’s true love, which will never change. Charitable activities, donations, and offerings to monks are also an important part of the day to express children’s love and gratitude towards their mothers.
I look forward to taking my mother for a walk around the Grand Palace this weekend to see colorful lights and fireworks and giving her a jasmine flower!