the King's Birthday (Wan Chalerm)
important public holiday is held on 5 December to celebrate
the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's
longest reigning monarch. Known in Thai as 'Wan Chalerm',
the occasion is marked by an outpouring of love and reverence
by Thai people throughout the kingdom and around the world.
Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, ascended
the throne on 9 June 1946. The King has won a special place
in the hearts of the Thai people through his combination of
devotion to the welfare and development of his people, and
a keen understanding and awareness of political and social
issues. As an institution, His Majesty has provided a firm
foundation for the country to weather the trials and turmoil
that have beset the region since the end of World War II.
Today, His Majesty continues to play a central role in a wide
spectrum of national and social development schemes.
5 December, buildings and homes all over the country are elaborately
adorned with flags, portraits of His Majesty and bunting,
predominantly in the color yellow. Around the Grand Palace
and Ratchadamnoen Avenue areas of Bangkok, thousands of vividly
colored marigolds decorate the streets. On the evening of
the holiday itself, the streets around Ratchadamnoen and Sanam
Luang are closed to traffic and thousands of people take to
the streets. Spectacular fireworks displays are held and the
atmosphere is joyous and festive. The best way to enjoy the
atmosphere is to take a bus to the Rattanakosin area, and
just stroll along the crowded but traffic-free streets for
a truly memorable experience.
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