Kings Birthday National Holiday
Phi Phi Island Culture | Kings Birthday on Koh Phi Phi
Every December 5th Thailand celebrates the Kings Birthday as a National Holiday. If the 5th December birthday falls on a weekend then the day off for workers will be on the following Monday. However, on the key tourist island of Koh Phi Phi, all services are normal with the exception of the banks and post office which are closed.
King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX as he is known in the dynastic naming has ruled since June 9th 1946 and this makes him the longest ruling monarch in the world and the longest reigning monarch in Thailand. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is highly revered in Thailand, and although he has no constitutional power in Thailand's democracy he has helped guided successive military leaders and more recently elected leaders to help with the smooth transition to democracy. Since 1946 Thailand has moved forward in all areas of government and life and a lot of the stability, forward looking progress has been maintained during his reign.
In Bangkok and towns across the country buildings are covered with huge Thai flags, prominent road junctions will have large portraits of the King as a sign of homage and respect to one of Thailand's most significant monarchs.
Kings Birthday National Holiday on Phi Phi
How the Kings Birthday is celebrated on Phi Phi
Most dive shops, restaurants, cafes and travel agencies will have a mini shrine in their office. This will constitute a picture of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and or Rama V King Chulalongkorn on a small dais where fresh flowers (often marigolds) and incense are left as an offering. Thai staff will often start their day with a ‘wai’ towards the shrine and ask for good luck for today and for the year ahead. A ‘wai’ is a small bow with palms together where the tip of the fingers are kept close to the body and just at the point of the nose.
Although workers in the tourist industry don’t get a full day off for the Kings birthday National Holiday on the 5th December it is, on the whole, marked with a moment of reflection that binds one of the worlds most tightly nit societies together in the belief of the country.