Coronation Day

By Kevin Cain

On May the 5th every year Coronation Day is celebrated by the people of Thailand. The celebration has been taking place since 1950 and it was on the 5th May 1950 that the coronation of his majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej took place.

King Adulyadej is loved by his people and on the 5th of May the whole nation gathers together to pay their respects and show their affection and loyalty to him. The day is celebrated as a national holiday and all banks and most businesses are closed..

The actual celebration is held over three days starting on May the third, when the King performs a merit-making ceremony at the Audience Hall of Amarinda. This is dedicated to his predecessors the past kings, while Buddhist monks perform a requiem over the ashes of the deceased.

On the following day the official Coronation Ceremonies begin with the chief of Brahmin priests proclaiming the day, followed by a long period of chanting by monks.

The third and final day is May the fifth, when food is offered to the gathered monks followed by a celebration of Royal Regalia. It is traditional that the armed services of the Army and Navy fire a twenty one gun salute at noon to honour their King. Afterwards the King presents royal decorations and medals to the people of his kingdom who have made valuable contributions to the country.

His royal majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty and when he was coronated in 1950 he was the first king of Thailand ever to have a coronation ceremony. Before this date there were only private royal celebrations with high ranking officials in attendance.

His majesty King Rama IX chose to celebrate his crowning with his people and to break with centuries of old tradition. It was then that the love affair between the Thai people and their King first started.

The Thai people also have two other names for their monarch, Nai Luang or Phra Chao Yu Hua which both mean “the King” or “Lord Upon our Heads” and Chao Chiwit “Lord of Life”

King Bhumibol Adulyadej is currently the longest serving monarch in the world and has also been Thailand's longest reigning ruler. His official name actually translates as “strength of the land, incomparable power”

The king was born in Cambridge, America due to his father being enrolled in a public health program at Harvard University, this explains why he is the only Thai monarch born in the USA.

It is not by chance that Coronation Day is celebrated with such enthusiasm and loyalty by the people as it is during the reign of their most beloved of monarchs.Rama IX has possibly done more for the common man than any of his predecessors and has done a lot to break down the bureaucracy and red tape that Thailand was previously burdened with.

Enjoy the festivities on May the fifth and pay respect to a truly great king.