The 5th of December is His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 88th birthday or วัน เฉลิมพระชนมพรรษา พระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัว in Thai language. This public holiday is celebrated nationwide as Father’s Day (“WAN PHO HENG CHAT” – วันพ่อแห่งชาติ) as the King is considered the father of all Thai people. Born in 1927, His Majesty the King has captured the hearts of the Thai people and revered because of his devotion to improving the welfare and well-being of his subjects. His Majesty, King Rama IX, is highly recognised among Thai society because it is considered that he always takes care of his people. Each year he used to go up-country to visit villages and towns to talk to people and to know their problems.
He has created many foundations and has implemented many Royal Projects to improve the life of his people. He is not a King far away from his people although as he has aged and because of health issues he is no longer such a public figure. Starting a few weeks before the King’s birthday, all buildings are covered up with Royal symbols and portraits of His Majesty all over the Thai kingdom. Every year huge portraits of His Majesty are raised in temples, administrative buildings, schools, houses and shops by individual people and organizations. National flags decorate buildings to wish His Majesty many happy returns of the day and a long life (“SONG PHRA CHAROEUN” – ทรงพระเจริญ). On the 5th of December in the early morning, Thai Buddhist people go to temples and make offerings to monks. In the evening, a huge free concert is organied in Sanam Luang, the area in front of Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok. It is a great honour for singers to be invited to perform in the concert dedicated to the King.
Some of them sing songs composed by the King himself. Every kind of Thai music is played including traditional music, Thai country music, pop and disco providsing something for everyone in the crowd. The Avenue Ratchadamnoen Klang, which contain many administrative buildings, is festooned with colorful lights. This street ends of Sanam Luang, the area in front of Wat Phra Kaew. In the middle of the avenue Ratchadamnoen Klang, many huge and beautiful portraits of the King are displayed. Bike For Dad – Yet Another Way To Recognise The Royal Birthday More than 600,000 people throughout Thailand and overseas have registered for the upcoming Bike for Dad event, an historic cycling parade to mark the 88th birthday of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The mass bicycle ride is in response to HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s wish to encourage Thai people from all walks of life to express their gratitude and loyalty to HM The King on the occasion of his birthday celebrations. The event will also demonstrate the unity of the Thai people. The Crown Prince will lead the Bike for Dad event in Bangkok. Krisda Boonraj, permanent secretary of the Interior Ministry, said about 100,000 of the registered participants are from Bangkok, with the majority of the others being from the provinces. “A total of 9,805 participants registered themselves to join the events from overseas,” Mr Krisda added.
The Bike for Dad event will be held on December 11th in various parts of Thailand as well as many other countries. Although that Friday is not a national holiday, this is under consideration. The government plans to seek cooperation from organisations involved to allow their members to join the event, as it will involve a large parade of bicycles and will affect traffic. “Some of the schools have already expressed an intention to close down that Friday,” Assistant National Police Commissioner Lt Gen Anan Srihiran said. Dr Kamjorn Tatiyakavee, permanent secretary of the Education Ministry, said his ministry was in charge of preparing commemorative books for the event. “The books will compile the history and royal works of the Crown Prince and also present pictures of people participating in the Bike for Dad event,” Dr Kamjorn disclosed.
The Prachuab Khirikhan Provincial Office has also arranged a local Bike for Dad cycling activity. Apart from commemorating the King’s birthday, participants will admire the scenic landscape of Prachuab Khirikhan. According to the governor of Prachuab Khirikhan Mr. Thawee Narissirikul, the Thai government has encouraged all provincial offices to participate. The provincial office of Prachuab Khirikhan, in cooperation with relevant agencies as well as all cyclist clubs, Have organised the activity on the same date and time. Participants will cycle a 29 kilometre route, starting from the Provincial Office, passing Prachuab beach, Ao Manao and Khlong Wan Buddhist Temple.
Then, they will take the same route to go back to the starting point, passing Koh Lak Buddhist Temple, the City Shrine, Dhamikaram Buddhist Temple, Ao Noi local community and Ao Noi Buddhist Temple. Throughout the event, there will be an exhibit displaying His Majesty’s royal initiatives, a Buddhist ceremony and the awarding of bicycles to poor local students who have very good academic results. Over 5,000 locals in the provinces have been registered for the activity.