On the 23rd of October each year, the nation celebrates the anniversary of the death of His Majesty, the fifth King of Siam, King Chulalongkorn. This day commemorates the modernization of the country and its major reforms, such as the establishment of the country’s first university and the abolition of slavery. His Majesty, the fifth ruler of Siam, is also known as King Rama V, and he is the progenitor of His Majesty the Late King, Bhumidh Raja the Great (later King Rama IX).
The reformist monarch
The Late King was born in 1853 and assumed the throne at the age of sixteen. His reign was marked by a period of prudence and modernization. During a period when colonial powers in Asia were expanding their spheres of influence, the King of Thailand was able to maintain the independence of Thailand through a combination of diplomacy and management.
Chulalongkorn, the fifth ruler of Siam and of the Chakri family, died on October 23rd, 1910. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest rulers of Siam and is remembered for his social and political reforms, such as the abolition of slavery, which he implemented in 1868 at the age of 15. He was crowned King in 1873 and ruled until his death. To the Siamese, he was known as the “King and I”. During his youth, Anna Leonowens taught him English and Western customs, a fact which was later documented in Margaret Landon’s book, Anna and the King of Siam, which served as the basis for the Broadway musical and film adaptation of the same name.
How is Chulalongkorn Day observed?
On this day, a large number of Thais demonstrate their reverence for the late King by placing a wreath and a bouquet of flowers at the Statue of Rama V in the city where he was born. Every provincial government has been instructed by the Ministry of Interior to conduct ceremonies to honor and remember the late King.
Due to the fact that the day is commemorated on Memorial Day and is not a religious holiday, establishments such as bars and other places of entertainment are likely to remain open. However, immigration offices, post offices, major bank branches (excluding those located in shopping malls), and government offices are likely to remain closed.
The sale of alcohol is not prohibited by law on this public holiday.
On the occasion of this day, Thai citizens pay tribute to the renowned reformer by decorating the bronze sculpture known as The Equine Statue. This statue was originally erected to commemorate the forty-thirteenth anniversary of the reign of the King of Thailand, who had been in power for the longest period of time in the history of the Siamese. Most of the buildings in Dusit District in Bangkok were constructed under the reign of the late King, and the architecture of the area is a combination of both Thai and European styles. In the Royal Plaza of Bangkok, the equine statue stands in front of the Throne Hall. It was inspired by King Louis XIV’s Equine Statue in Versailles, France, which had been erected after the latter’s grand tour of Europe in 1907. To commemorate the day, a thornless pink rose is offered to symbolize the everlasting love between the two monarchs.