Thailand’s Constitution Day 2023

Thailand's Constitution Day is a national holiday held on December 10th that commemorates Thailand’s adoption of a constitutional monarchy in 1932.
Thailand
10 December 2023

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Thailand’s Constitution Day is a national holiday being held annually on December 10th. Commemorated only a few days after Thai Father’s Day, this day is also important to Thai people as it commemorates Thailand’s adoption of a constitution in 1932.

On this day, all government offices, schools, and banks are closed, and some areas will hold parades and celebrations. Similar to other public holidays in Thailand, if Thailand’s Constitution Day falls on the weekend, a “substitution holiday” will be observed on the following Monday.

History of Thailand’s Constitution Day

King Rama VII statue of Chakri Dynasty of Thailand in front of the parliament building, Bangkok, Thailand.
King Rama VII statue of Chakri Dynasty of Thailand in front of the parliament building, Bangkok, Thailand. Source: mai111 / Shutterstock.com

The history of this day dates back to 1932, when King Rama VII endorsed the nation’s first constitution, beginning its journey to democratic government which lives up to its subsequent and present name, “Thailand,” meaning “land of the free.”

Under the new constitution, the institution of the monarchy remained in place with the King as the head of state. On December 10th, 1932, Thailand formally transitioned from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. Next year on November 15th, 1933, indirect elections were held in which voters elected subdistrict representatives, who in turn elected members of parliament (MPs). Five years later, the first direct elections for MPs were held in November 1937. In both elections, MPs constituted half of all parliamentary representatives, with the other half comprising royal appointees.

Until today, Thailand’s Constitution Day continues to celebrate the country’s first constitution and this landmark transition, and the enduring political tradition of constitutional monarchy.

Bangkok’s Democracy Monument

The Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok, Thailand. Source: Prakit Photographer / Shutterstock.com

Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, located on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, is a public monument in the city center of Bangkok and is a representation of the 1932 constitution. 

“The monument will be the center of all prosperity and progress in that it is the start point of many main avenues. Several classic buildings are under way of construction on Ratchadamnoen Avenue as honor of the country and a response to King Rama V who set his mind that this avenue will be a pride.” – General Plaek Phibunsongkhram

The monument sits on two golden offering bowls atop a turret as a part of the monument and is guarded by four wing-like structures.

How is Thailand’s Constitution Day celebrated?

The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall was the place where King Rama VII officially signed the first constitution back in 1932, located in Thai Royal Dusit Palace, Bangkok, Thailand.
The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall was the place where King Rama VII officially signed the first constitution back in 1932, located in Thai Royal Dusit Palace, Bangkok, Thailand. Source: Mazur Travel / Shutterstock.com

Processions and ceremonies to mark this occasion specifically pay homage to King Rama VII. The king’s images are usually displayed across the country to show people’s gratitude and appreciation of the monarch.

Thailand’s Constitution Day (or its substitution holiday) usually falls at the start or end of a long weekend, which is a great opportunity to take a mini-vacation during the tourist high season.