National Teacher’s Day

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waikru

Teacher’s day is celebrated every year on January 16th in Thailand.

Wai Kru Day is the day of the year when Thai students show respect to their teachers by participating in school ceremonies. They thank their teachers for the knowledge they have given them, for the gift of learning, and wish them good luck in the future school year and in their future lives.

On Wai Kru Day students come to school with flowers and gifts for their teachers. Many of them dress in traditional Thai costumers. At many Thai schools, the students make their own floral arrangements. They use traditional Thai flowers and plants, banana leaves and incense in the larger arrangements, all of which have different meanings (for example, patience, respect and discipline). These are given to the teachers at an elaborate ceremony during which time every child at the school is expected to wai their teachers (hold their hands in the prayer position) and pay them respect.

The History

In 1956 Prime Minister Field Marshal P. Pibulsongkram, addressed a gathering of teachers from throughout the country and suggested that as teachers were our benefactors and persons who gave light to our life they should have a day of their own so that their students would get an opportunity to pay respect to them. He continued, “On other auspicious days such as New Year’s Day and the Songkran Festival we pay a tribute to both our living and dead relatives and make merit in dedication to their souls. Since our teachers play an important role next to our parents, I would like to propose the idea to this gathering and ask you to consider it in principle.”

As a result of his remarks, the Teachers’ Council unanimously agreed to set up Teachers’ Day in order to hold a ceremony to pay a tribute to the teachers, to promote unity among teachers and to promote better understanding between teachers and the general public. On November 21, 1956, the Cabinet passed a resolution to announce January 16 of every year as Teachers’ Day and the school holiday was celebrated for the first time on January 16, 1957. The event has been held since then and is held nationwide.

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