Every 5th december Thailand celebrates father’s day. They celebrate this in a very different way as we Europeans do.
First of all father’s day is set on the birthday of the ruling king. December 5th is the birthday of the current king, Phumiphon Adunyadet (or mispronounced by many farang: Bhumibol Adulyadej) or Rama IX. His Majesty is recognized as the father of the Thai nation and considered to be role model father.
Second of all it’s not about buying a gift for your father as we are used to, but it’s about paying respect to His Majesty the king and of course their own father. Traditionally flowers are given to their own father, but it is not very common anymore.
In december there will visibly be more people wearing yellow. In Thailand everyday of the week is symbolised by a color. Yellow is the color for monday. His Majesty the king is born on a monday. On father’s day almost everybody will wear yellow. Some will wear pink, because in 2007, His Majesty the king was seen leaving the hospital wearing a baby pink blazer.
In Bangkok many people go to the Sanam Luang, a public park in front of the palace, to watch the king give his annual speech. Though this year the king did not give a speech because his dokters were concerned about his health, still many people hoped he would speech anyway. More people arrive in the evening when the national ceremony takes place. In other cities the people will gather at a public place. In Uthai Thani we gathered at the big clock near the city center.
There was a stage where children in traditional clothing performed traditional Thai dancing. After the dancing there was a speech given. At 19:19h the Father’s day song was played and everybody lit a yellow candle. They do this at exactly 19:19 for good luck. You should watch out with putting a plastic cup around your candle, because I didn’t watch mine while I was taking pictures and the cup melted and the melted plastic burned my hand.
After the song there were a lot of fireworks. Thai fireworks scare me because they don’t have the same safety precaution as we Belgians have. They shoot the fireworks up right in the middle of the crowd and it seems like it doesn’t fly as high as we are used to. After the fireworks most of the people went home. I did too. You could stay to watch children play music, but my hand hurt so I went home.