December 5 is the birthday of HM Bhumiphol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand. Known in the West as Rama IX (the ninth king of the Chakri dynasty), he is considered to be the father of all Thai people. It is because of this that his birthday is celebrated in the kingdom as Father’s Day (similarly, the Queen’s birthday on 12th August is Mother’s Day). I I find it rather interesting that very few Thai people that I’ve talked with seem to be aware that their king was actually born in Massachusetts, U.S.A. Today also happens to be my birthday so I have a nice holiday complete with fireworks and candlelight ceremonies. Very lucky, indeed!
Today, 12 August, is the birthday of HRH Queen Sirikit of Thailand and thus a national holiday during which all loyal and devoted subjects of the Kingdom wish Her Majesty a long life of good health and happiness. As the Thai people regard the Queen as mother of the entire nation the day is also celebrated as National Mother’s Day. Prior to 1976, Mother’s Day was celebrated on 15 April. Throughout Thailand, the occasion is marked by the Queen’s flag — powder blue with her Royal cipher emblazoned in the center — flying from buildings and along roadsides. White jasmine flowers are also much in evidence, symbolizing a mother’s love for her children as being white and pure.