Chulalongkorn Day 2009

Today marks the anniversary of the death of King Rama V who is regarded by many people as one of the most important monarchs in recent Thai history. Every year, on the 23rd October, Thai people remember him on this day which is known as Chulalongkorn Day or Piya Maharaj Day in Thai. King Rama V is credited with abolishing slavery and also pushing forward reforms that helped modernize the country.

Every city in the country has their own statue of King Rama V. On this day people gather at the statue to commemorate his life and also to lay a wreath at the foot of the statue. In Samut Prakan, I went to take pictures at three different locations around the province. This one is at Phra Chulachomklao Fort and is 4.3 meters high. It is the largest statue that I have seen and looks out over the Gulf of Thailand.

We started the day early this morning at the City Hall Plaza in Samut Prakan. It was raining hard when we left home at 6.30 a.m. but the clouds cleared and the rain stopped just as the ceremony was about to start. At the Plaza there were several hundred government officials. All of them, including the Governor, laid a wreath at the foot of the statue.

We next went to the nearby Naval Academy where they were also having a ceremony to lay a wreath. As you can see, many of them were quite beautiful. From here we went to Phra Chulachomklao Fort in the afternoon. Today is a public holiday in Thailand though for us it was a very busy day as we had five different events to cover for Samut Prakan News website. Other events included Looking Back to the Old Bangkok Exhibition at Ancient Siam and Feast for Dead Souls at Rong Jay Thong Siang.

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