August 12th is one of the most important days of celebration on the Thai calendar. The Queen’s Birthday is a celebration to respect the mother of Thailand when people pray for happiness and long life for Her Majesty the Queen.
Thai people respect the Queen’s story of love, self-discipline, courage, motherhood and devotion to Thailand. Her Majesty the Queen has been an all-loving figure to all of Thailand. Regarded as Mother of the Nation, Queen Sirikit’s birthday is also Thailand’s official Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was established in its current form in cocelebration with the Queen’s birthday in 1976. Since then it has become an important national holiday, celebrated with much fanfare year after year. HM Queen Sirikit was born on August 12, 1932, the same year that Thailand changed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. This year will be her 86th birthday. The two occasions are celebrated in concert – with public festivities such as parades and ceremonies and private family activities. How Do Thais Celebrate Mother’s Day? Like many important occasions, alms giving to monks forms a meaningful part of the traditional Mother’s Day celebrations. Early in the morning, ceremonies are held to give offerings of food to Thailand’s saffronrobed Buddhist monks. Schools in Thailand typically host a Mother’s Day ceremony. Students may spend weeks beforehand rehearsing performances and the proper steps of the ceremony. On the special day, mothers come to their child’s school and each child kneels at his or her mother’s feet, paying respect to mom for all that she has done for them. Within these heartfelt moments, it’s common to see mothers wiping tears from their eyes and many children doing the same (and sometimes onlookers as well). It’s also become quite common for families to celebrate their love for mom by taking her out for a special meal. Many restaurants offer Mother’s Day specials. Hotels and resorts also offer Mother’s Day packages. So you may want to be on the lookout for restaurant and hotel specials. The traditional Mother’s Day gift in Thailand is jasmine. This delicate white flower is imbued with a sweet perfumed fragrance. Called “dok mali” in Thai (ดอก มะลิ), jasmine is used in worship and is also seen as symbol of purity, gentleness and motherhood. Jasmine is sold in open white blossoms (its most characteristic form as a symbol of motherhood) as well as in exquisitely crafted flower garlands and white fabric or other synthetic blossoms. Similar to many other countries, children will often create a handmade Mother’s Day card. Young children and adult children may also give their mother a special gift in addition to or instead of jasmine. Foods, sweets, jewelry, handbags, tech gizmos, warm messages in a phone call, a special lunch, a weekend at the beach, a sprig of jasmine — the gifts vary widely according to each family, each child’s age and their circumstances, but the sentiment is always is the same; thanking their mother and honoring her for her sacrifice and dedication.