Chulalongkorn Memorial Day: Celebrations at Home and Abroad

Last updated on December 28th, 2023 at 02:01 am

Chulalongkorn Memorial Day

There are at least 19 national public holidays in Thailand, one of the most popular being Chulalongkorn Memorial Day, sometimes called Piyamararaj Day. While most businesses remain open, every October 23rd, the global Thai community commemorates one of the most notable figures in Thai history. Every year on King Chulalongkorn Day, citizens present wreaths as the Equestrian Statue in Royal Plaza in Bangkok.

The 1.1 million Thai people living abroad and working to support loved ones find many ways to enjoy the holiday. This includes the simple act of explaining Chulalongkorn Day to non-Thai coworkers and friends. Review this Remitly guide that details Chulalongkorn Memorial Day celebrations.

The meaning of Chulalongkorn Memorial Day

Today, not many countries still have a monarchy. However, the Thai people do, and they take pride in remembering the rulers who made a positive difference in their national history. King Chulalongkorn, also called King Rama V, is one of those leaders.

King Chulalongkorn is one of the most well-known and admired figures in Thai history and the fifth monarch of Siam. Not only did he focus on the abolition of slavery in Thailand, but he also held off European colonialism. Thanks to his work, Thailand’s remained an independent state until today—the only colonized nation in Southeast Asia.

He was also responsible for rapid modernization. King Chulalongkorn introduced Thailand’s first power plant, postal service, and railway system. He modernized the then-Siamese administrative system.

When his visit to Bern, Switzerland, was recorded, he ignited local interest in filmmaking—leading to the vibrant Thai film industry we see today.

Today, many important institutions are named after King Chulalongkorn, including the top-ranking Chulalongkorn University, various medical centers, and more. His dedication to the nation during his reign has resulted in the King of Siam being remembered as a great, beloved king.

In short, celebrating this Thai holiday is about more than acknowledging the Thai monarchy. It focuses on a significant period in Thai history, which is still felt today.

Celebrating Chulalongkorn Day abroad

While King Chulalongkorn Memorial Day is a national holiday in Thailand, you may have to ask for a day off if you want to celebrate abroad. That said, there are many ways to respect the king and Thai history when you’re far from home.

Some ways to celebrate this day include:

  • Cook your favorite meals from home.
  • Call on your relatives and friends.
  • Send small gifts to your nieces and nephews.
  • Donate to a Thai charity.
  • Do some volunteer work in your new community.
  • Watch your favorite Thai films or series.
  • Watch the Memorial newscast live.

Thai celebrations in the U.S.

There are many resources to celebrate on your own or with a group of other Thais living in the United States. You may want to host a potluck or go out to eat with friends and family.

No matter where you are in the country, you can even get food delivered to your doorstep. Thai-specific groceries like Bangkok Market, Siam Seafood and Supplies, and 3 Aunties Thai Market ship to all 50 states.

Watching your favorite movies is usually easy with international streaming services and YouTube. But what if you want to read books in Thai or even in English?

There’s a Thai-specific market for books—published in English and Thai. This can be great for brushing up on your own knowledge or for finding gifts for children. One publisher that has books in every category is Silkworm Books.

You might also find some great reads for young children from this list.

Thai Associations also tend to host festivals and group celebrations. If you haven’t signed up for one in your area, here are some popular organizations:

Thai communities in Australia

Similar to the U.S., many local and nationwide outlets in Australia carry Thai products. Some online delivery options include Nathan Thai Grocery and Thai Kee Supermarket. There are also Asian-general stores that may carry your favorite foods, such as Asian Pantry.

Thai-specific networks host events and provide support to the Thai community living in Australia. They include:

Thai immigrants in the U.K.

If you’re looking for your favorite products and ingredients for a home-cooked meal, the large Thai population in the UK is home to several local stores. You can also get items delivered by online marketplaces, regardless of where you live in the United Kingdom. Some popular choices are Thai Food Direct and RaanThai Oriental Supermarket.

The UK is host to several Thai associations that may host a Memorial Day celebration, including:

Chulalongkorn Memorial Day

Sending money to Thailand

National holidays are a great time to spend with friends and family, and Chulalongkorn Day is no different. Consider sending a gift home to celebrate.

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