Sunthorn Phu Day

Rayong, Thailand
26 June 2022

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Sunthorn Phu Day

Sunthorn Phu Day falls on June 26th every year and commemorates the birthday of the Shakespeare of Thailand: Sunthorn Phu or Phra Sunthorn Wohan.

In 1987, then-Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand Sawet Piamphongsan declared ​​Sunthorn Phu Day to honor one of Thailand’s literary giants, while announcing the establishment of the Sunthorn Phu Institute. The institute supports activities related to his legacy and works to spread awareness of his work among youths and the general public.

Bringing poetry to the masses

Wax figures of Phra Aphai Mani characters at the Thai Human Imagery Museum in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand. Source: dreamloveyou / Shutterstock.com

Sunthorn Phu is Thailand’s best-known royal poet. Alternatively known as the Bard of Rattanakosin, he began his career in the reign of King Rama II, and his works have remained popular in Thailand to this day. Some of his famous poetry includes “Nirat Phu Khao Thong,” a collection of poems recounting his journey to the Golden Mountain; “Nirat Suphan,” about his journey to Suphanburi province; and the “Phra Aphai Mani” epic.

Given his contributions to Thai education, language, and literature, Sunthorn Phu was honored by UNESCO as a World Poet in 1986, which marked the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Sunthorn Phu is fondly remembered in Thailand today for his ability to bring poetry and literature to the masses. He wrote in a way that the wider public could understand, using simple verse and simple language.

Sunthorn Phu Memorial Park

The statue of Sunthorn Phu at Sunthorn Phu Memorial Park in Klaeng district, Rayong province, Thailand. Source: Jacky Photographer / Shutterstock.com

In honor of his literary contributions, Sunthorn Phu Memorial Park was established in Klaeng district, Rayong province, the birthplace of his father. There, a monument was unveiled on May 25th, 1970. It features a sitting statue of Sunthorn Phu composing a poem, with other statues of the main characters from his literary works. This monument is the first and only monument dedicated to a poet in Thailand.

Sunthorn Phu Day in Rayong

People playing a folk game on Sunthorn Phu day in 2018 at Sunthorn Phu Memorial Park in Klaeng district, Rayong province, Thailand. Source: SUTHIN LODTHONG / Shutterstock.com

This year’s Sunthorn Phu Day will be held and celebrated in Rayong province from June 25th–27th, 2022 at the Sunthorn Phu Memorial Park. Visitors can expect the following activities:

  • Exhibition of Sunthorn Phu’s life and legacy
  • Performances related to his literary works
  • Poetry-writing contests (for both students and the general public)
  • Street foods and shops

For more information about Sunthorn Phu Day, visit Rayong’s official provincial website, or reach out via e-mail at rayong@moi.go.th.

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