Celebrated every year on April 6, Chakri Memorial Day is in expression of
reverence to the monarchs of Chakri dynasty. It is a way for the faithful
Thais to express their love and reverence to their kings who not only rule
their land but also their heart. Chakri Dynasty has been ruling Thailand
Prior to the establishment of Chakri Dynasty (the current royal lineage),
the Kingdom of Siam (former name of Thailand) was in turmoil.
Aggressive Burmese troops occupied the Northern Kingdom of Lan Na and were
proceeding down south to the Siamese Royal Capital of Ayutthaya. A young man
of noble Ayutthaya descent named Thong Duang (born in 1737) commanded the
bitter fights in the Northern war.
Despite the efforts to fight back, they were gradually forced to fall back
until the Burmese had gotten a grip on the Royal Capital.
Ayutthaya fell on April 8th, 1767 and the Siamese people fled to the city of
Thonburi located further downriver on the mighty Chaophraya River.
The beautiful city of Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese, temples
plundered, gold and jewelry looted, monks and women were cruelly effected.
But the Burmese had suffered heavily in the taking of Ayutthaya and knew the
Siamese would return to take up battle. Knowing they could not hold
Ayutthaya, the Burmese retreated after only one week.
War campaigns continued over the years, ebbing and flowing, until the
Siamese armies united during 1779 in Thonburi. Thong Duang now known as
Chakri became the military commander. He realized that the Royal Court of
King Taaksin was in such disharmony because the King, weary of wars, had
resorted to religion rather than addressed the needs of his subjects. The
lack of leadership caused rebellions to break out. Rebels marched on
Thonburi, calling for the overthrow and replacement of King Taaksin with
their beloved "Chakri." As a result Chaophraya Chakri took the title "King
Ramathibodi" and reigned as King Rama I from April 6 1782 until 1809.
As an experienced military campaigner, King Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty
knew that the city of Thonburi was vulnerable to possible Burmese attack
from the west. Accordingly, he commanded that a new Capital be established
across Chaophraya River. And so Krung - Thep (Bangkok) was created.
Chakri Day commemorates the founding of the Chakri Dynasty in 1782 by King
Rama I. In the new capital city of Bangkok, King Rama I built the Grand
Palace that now houses the Emerald Buddha. In addition, he helped release
Thailand from the Burmese control, after Ayutthaya succumbed 14 years
In commemorating �Chakri Day,� the national flag is proudly displayed by the
people of Thailand and both government officials and members of the
community participate in traditional ceremonies, making offerings of flowers
and garlands at the many statues of Kings in the House of Chakri.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the current King, known as King Rama IX or the
ninth King of the Chakri dynasty. A Royal ceremony is performed by the King
to pay respects to King Rama I the Great, the founder of the Chakri Dynasty
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the current king of Thailand, himself leads the
ceremonies. He, in accompaniment of the royal family members, presides over
the religious ceremonies held at the royal chapel to pay respect to the late
kings of the land. Current King pays respects to his predecessors at the
Royal Pantheon and then lays wreath at the statue of King Rama I at the
Memorial Bridge. The king is followed by all government officials including
the prime minister. Members of the public also hold several ceremonies to
mark this day.
Various members of the public also hold private meetings where people
assemble to express their regard for Thai kings. Although Thailand is now a
democratic country, people have utmost regard for Chakri Dynasty and this
reverence express itself on this occasion. Pattaya, like all of Thailand,
participates in the celebrations of Chakri Memorial Day.