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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Thailand, Lesson 16 – Coronation Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Thailand Series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Thai holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 16, Coronation Day. In Thai, it’s called วันฉัตรมงคล (wan chàt-mong-khon).
In this lesson, we’re going to talk about Coronation Day, which falls on May 5 each year. This is a very important day, as May 5, 1950 marked the day the coronation of King Rama IX, the current king of Thailand, took place. King Rama IX reigned after King Rama VIII, and has led the country up until now.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
At what age did King Rama IX ascend the throne?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
It’s a tradition for the current king to offer food to monks on the morning of Coronation Day each year, in order to pay his respects for past kings. In the evening, an event is held in which the king gives his insignia to civil servants with good records. Afterwards, the king moves to Wat Phra Kaew to worship the Emerald Buddha, a very famous Buddha statue in Thailand. Finally, the king pays his respects to pictures, or รูปภาพ (rûup phâap), of previous kings in order to remember their graces and their rulership of the country.
Coronation Day is one of the few days when the Bureau of the Royal Household opens its doors within the royal palace areas to the general public. This includes the well known Prasart Phra Debidorn, which displays statues, or รูปปั้น (rûup-bpân), of the previous eight kings. In the evening, an event is held for the general public to wish the king a happy and long life, with the Prime Minister delivering the speech.
Before Coronation Day, schools and government agencies will be decorated with the national flag and the monarch flag to signify their loyalty. After paying their respects to the flag in the morning, teachers, or ครู (khruu), in their full official uniforms will lead the students to bless the royalty and sing the royal anthem. Student representatives will also come to the front and talk about Thailand’s history and importance of the day. The Thai word meaning student is นักเรียน (nák-riian).
In order to remember the grace of the kings who have ruled the country peacefully, there is a tradition of playing the royal anthem, or เพลงสรรเสริญพระบารมี (phleeng săn-sǒoen phrá baa-rá-mii), before the start of entertainment activities, such as movies or a stage performance. At this time, the audience will stand up to show their respect until the anthem ends. It’s believed that this practice was influenced by Western culture.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
At what age did King Rama IX ascend the throne?
At 23 years old. The reason he ascended the throne at such a young age was because King Rama VIII suddenly passed away, when King Rama IX was 19. However, because at the time he was underage and had not finished his studies, he could not reign immediately.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How does your country remember the grace of the kings?
Leave us a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!