Thailand Chulalongkorn Day: October 23
Thailand celebrates Chulalongkorn Day as a national holiday.
On October 23 of every year, Thailand celebrates Chulalongkorn Day. This is the day when King Chulalongkorn died. He is one of the most important kings in the Thailand’s colorful past.
Thailand Chulalongkorn Day History
King Chulalongkorn (Phra Chulachom Klao Chaoyuhua or RamaV) ascended to the throne at the death of his father, King Mongkut (or Phra Chom Klao). Rama V became king in 1868 at the age of 15. King Chulalongkorn was the fifth monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri.
King Chulalongkorn’s long reign of 42-years was dedicated to full-scale reforms as he ushered Thailand into the 19th century. He incorporated into Thailand the systems he learned from western governments. He made friends with major powers such as Britain, France, America and Russia and sent his children to be educated in the West.
The King pushed for the abolition of slavery, the construction of railways, the establishment of post and telegraph services and the creation of a ministerial system in 1892. In the fields of health and education, the King also established a variety of public utilities. During the age of colonialism, the King had to adapt his foreign policy to maintain a balance between the opposing powers. He avoided confrontation and he fostered friendly relations with all powers. Thailand was able to keep her independence even though it lost a lot of its territory to France in the last years of his reign.
In 1873 after the coronation, King Chulalongkorn abolished the practice of prostration in front of the king. Later, he abolished slavery in 1905. This slave abolition was his most important legacy. The Slave Act was passed in 1905 to prohibit slave trade.
His death on October 23, 1910 was a great loss to the entire nation as he was one of the most honored and beloved kings who were often called “Somdej Phra Piyamaharaj”.
Thailand Chulalongkorn Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
Various cultural activities and events are held during this day in honor of King Chulalongkorn. An exhibition about the king’s life and works are on display. Wreaths and flower offerings are laid on the King’s Equestrian Statue. Performances and merry-making dedicated to the king.