Thai Father’s Day 2023

Discover Thailand’s symbolic traditions for commemorating Father’s Day and honoring His Majesty King Rama IX as father to the nation.
Thailand
05 December 2023

VIEWS

0

SHARES

Father’s Day is celebrated worldwide, but in Thailand, this is a special occasion that takes on a different meaning. Held on December 5th, Thai Father’s Day commemorates His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great’s birthday and has been observed as a national holiday since 1960.

Symbolic traditions

Source: Robert Ross / Shutterstock.com

On this auspicious day, Thai people pay respect to their father figures, often with traditional gifts such as the symbolic canna flower (Canna indica L.) or Dok Puttharaksa, which is seen as the masculine counterpart to lilies and given to loved ones.

On Thai Father’s Day, you’ll also notice several Thais wearing yellow. This color in Thailand is strongly identified with the late King, due to the fact that he was born on a Monday. In Thailand, different days of the week are associated with different colors: namely, yellow (Monday), pink (Tuesday), green (Wednesday), orange (Thursday), blue (Friday), purple (Saturday), and red (Sunday).

Since this day is observed as a public holiday, it is common for families to gather for the occasion to make merit at a local temple or enjoy a family outing.

Father to the people

Source: 24Novembers / Shutterstock.com

Many in Thailand are proud to say they were born in the reign of King Rama IX, the longest reigning monarch of the Chakri Dynasty to date. King Bhumibol leaves a legacy of dedication and sacrifice through his many royal projects, which sought to improve the lives and livelihoods of the people, especially rural farmers, in one form or another.

In the field of water management, King Bhumibol developed cloud-seeding techniques and water aerators — two of more than 20 patents registered by the great monarch. His Majesty also advanced the use of check dams and “monkey cheek” reservoirs to manage floodwaters. In terms of soil management, he pioneered techniques to tackle soil acidity, salinity, and erosion, such as planting long-root vetiver grass.

King Rama 9 initiated more than 3,000 royal development projects over the course of his lifetime, putting into practice his philosophies of community participation and self-determination, empowering the Thai people to improve their own quality of life.

World Soil Day

Child hands holding and caring a young green plant
Source: Doidam 10 / Shutterstock.com

While December 5th is a very special day for Thais, it also marks World Soil Day (WSD). In honor of King Rama IX, Thailand supported the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to declare World Soil Day on His Majesty’s birthday. WSD is a unique global platform that not only celebrates soils but also empowers and engages citizens around the world to improve soil health.

This year, the FAO’s “Soil and Water: A Source of Life” campaign aims to raise awareness on the importance and the relationship between soil and water in achieving sustainable and resilient agrifood systems. Individuals and institutions that have organized successful World Soil Day celebrations can also receive the King Bhumibol World Soil Day Award.

Since the first World Soil Day in 2014, the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) has managed to harness interest from soil specialists and enthusiasts alike and interest has expanded from 42 events in 2014 to around 781 celebrations in 125 countries in 2021.

Learn more about World Soil Day at the FAO’s official website