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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Thailand, Lesson 17 – Chakri Memorial 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 17, Chakri Memorial Day. In Thai, it’s called วันจักรี (wan jàk-grii).
In this lesson, we will talk about Chakri Memorial Day, which falls on April 6 every year. This is a day to commemorate the grace of King Rama I, who ascended the throne and moved the capital to Bangkok. This day is regarded as the anniversary of the Chakri dynasty.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Which city was the capital of Thailand before Bangkok?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
King Rama I was the first king of the Chakri dynasty. While he engaged in many missions during his reign, his most important mission was to protect the kingdom as well as to revive Thai culture. During his reign, he led troops into battle, or การสู้รบ (gaan sûu-róp), and protected the country from every invasion from Myanmar. In addition, he cherished religion, constructing and restoring temples which had been damaged by the war, or สงคราม (sŏng-khraam). The period of his life was regarded as one of peace and solidarity.
Nowadays, the most widely held tradition on Chakri Day is that the current king, along with other royal figures, host religious ceremonies to pay respect to previous kings in the dynasty at the Royal Palace temple. Afterwards, they lay wreaths at the Monument of King Rama I at the Phra Phuttha Yodfa Bridge. The wreath laying is always attended by the Prime Minister and other senior officials.
Recently, foundations, government agencies, and private sectors have been cooperating to plan the Week of Honor by organizing activities to honor the royal family, or ราชวงศ์ (râat-chá-wong), and make merit for them. The general public is allowed to participate in several activities. For example, they can help by sponsoring the King’s project, planting trees in the forest, and building houses for the poor. These activities greatly help strengthen the unity of the nation.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Which city was the capital of Thailand before Bangkok?
For strategic reasons, the capital of Thailand used to be Thon Buri. This city is located on both banks of a river and is a difficult place to transport weapons to and protect. Also, the existing palace had limited space and could not be extended further. In contrast, Bangkok is in a suitable location for a battle. Hence, the capital was eventually moved.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Has your country moved the capital before, like Thailand?
Leave us a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!