August is when the nation of Thailand is abuzz with activities to prepare for the big celebration of Mother’s Day. Unlike in western culture where the similar day is celebrated in the month of May,Mother’s Day in Thailand is synonymous with the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Therefore it is a big occasion in Thailand and falls on the 12th of August every year. Her Majesty the Queen is well noted for her compassion, benevolence and support of the less fortunate in the Kingdom of Thailand. She is known for the many schemes and projects attributed to charitable organizations and similar, to help the poor of the nation and therefore the people of Thailand remember Her Majesty’s deeds and devotions towards the needy of Her Kingdom by commemorating and celebrating her birthday on this auspicious day. Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is very much in the hearts of her grateful people of Thailand and they look forward to Mother’s Day each year. Preparations for the celebration start around the month of July. A whole nation is busily preparing to celebrate the event by hanging street lights, portraits of Her Majesty at homes and work places, decking them with garlands and hanging multi-colored lights around the portraits as well as raising the national flags in respect of the occasion. Everything is a riot of colours in the Kingdom and more so in the city of Bangkok. In Ratchadamneon Avenue, Khaosan area leading to the Royal Grand Palace and Sanam Luang will be decked with shimmering lights all along the tree-lined roads creating a spectacle to behold in the night and the finale is a great fireworks display to mark the occasion. This is the perfect time for those who are visiting the Kingdom of Thailand to join in the celebrations
in honour of her beloved Majesty Queen Sirikit by a grateful nation.
On the eve of the celebration, those who are preparing for the occasion the following day will spend a sleepless night adding details and making sure that everything will be perfect for this joyous event. The day starts very early at around 7 am where Government employees, officials, the Royal Army, Navy, Air force, teachers and students will assemble around the Clock Tower near the Grand Palace. This is the starting point for a procession that involves a walk all the way to the Grand Palace itself accompanied by a musical band and the participants carrying bouquets of flowers and gifts to present to Her Majesty the Queen. These gifts are normally handed over to the appointed representative for Her Majesty in her presence and during this presentation ceremony the national song, “Mother of Kingdom” is sung to praise and respect both the Queen and King of Thailand. You can watch the procession all along the way but the presentation ceremony can be viewed by live telecast at strategic points along the way or on television as only limited audience is allowed in the Grand Palace during this time. However this is a great opportunity for those of you lucky enough to be in Thailand at this time to join in and celebrate. Make it a point to go early and catch a glimpse of
the parade, there are also a number of on-going entertainment during this time and should not be missed. There is nothing like actually being there than just watching it on telly!
This is a whole day celebration which culminates in the evening where a ceremony is again held in the Queen’s Garden. Here, officials from the Government will light hundreds to thousands of candles. These candles represent longevity for the Queen and King and symbolically lighting the candles mean paying for their long lives and paying respect to both Queen and King. After this ceremony, later in the evening there will be an awesome fireworks display to end the celebrations.
This whole day event is not only colourful but you can feel the respect, devotion and gratefulness of a nation to their monarchy. The best place to be at this time is near the Grand Palace where the colourful lights hung from trees, lamp posts and buildings all along the route brightens the whole district and presents a great photo opportunity as well.
The joyful celebration is not only to celebrate the occasion of Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday but is also taken as an opportunity for the nation to celebrate a real Mother’s Day for all mothers of the nation. To the Thai people, the mother is a person who provides life to a child, nourishment, care and unconditional love and on this day it is to give thanks to their mothers for all that they have given and sacrificed. The average Thai celebrates this occasion in the wee hours of the morning by giving merit to their mother in the form of alms to the monks during the morning time. Then in respect of their love and gratitude, it is a Thai custom to kneel down before their mother and bow in respect to acknowledge all that she has done for them and to present her with the traditional jasmine flower which is symbolic of maternal love. In return, the mother will give blessings to her children for a good and happy life in all they do. This is a beautiful custom observed by the Thai people and demonstrates filial piety towards parents by the younger generation which should be preserved. The white jasmine flower that is presented to the mothers has a lovely fragrance and symbolizes not only maternal love but also the purity of unconditional love that never changes over time. Merits are given on behalf of the mothers by their children not only in the form of alms but also through charity deeds, offerings and prayers at a temple as well as donations to the less fortunate. This is done as a show of respect and gratitude as well as to also pray for the longevity of their mothers.
The Thai people are steeped in customs, culture and tradition and none more so than when it comes to parental love and devotion. This is reflected from the monarchy down to each person in the nation. The Queen symbolizes the Mother of the Nation as well as The King symbolizes the Father of the Nation and therefore within each Thai household. This is a truly unique occasion celebrated by a nation that you do not see often in many other countries to this grand scale. It is not only celebrated by the Thai people but also foreign expatriates who have settled in the Kingdom and consider themselves very much a part of Thai culture. This should not just be limited to Thailand itself but also embraced by all cultures and nations of the world to respect and honour both parents in filial piety for a more compassionate and understanding world! So do try and come witness this occasion here in Thailand and more so if you have the opportunity to travel with your mother or mother’s to be
and visit the amazing Kingdom of Thailand!