Today is Chulalongkorn Day or Piyamaharaj Day as Thai people call it. Today Thai people honor their greatest King Chulalongkorn or Rama V. I think this is a good day to launch our blog. It’s also my mother’s birthday. Happy birthday mom! Hopefully it will bring us good luck.
Of all the kings of Thailand, Chulalongkorn is the most respected king by most Thais. Even surpassing the reigning king Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX. This year is the 100th anniversary of his death in 1910. Virtually every province in Thailand has a memorial for him and today they honor him with a public holiday and placing flower wreaths below statues and portraits of him.
I used to wonder, when entering the home or a restaurant seeing his picture displayed proudly on the wall, about who this man was and why he showed up all over. I learned after a while that displaying his portrait on the wall of your business or home will bring good luck. People also put his picture on amulets and necklaces and wear him around with them.
Rama V was the man who saved Thailand from being colonized and brought Thailand into the modern age. Also definitely worth mentioning, he was the man who abolished slavery and introduced freedom of religion. Through his many accomplishments he earned the title “Great Beloved King .” Although Chulalongkorn lost nearly half his land, he managed through cunning and diplomacy to keep Thailand independent. I think this is why I love Thailand so much, and why it’s such a popular place for tourists. Thailand has kept much of it’s culture and traditions. That’s what makes it unique.
I also suspect that (and please correct me if I’m wrong) it’s because of Chulalongkorn’s visit to Sweeden (and Europe) in 1897, that Swedish people get a 90 day entry visa on arrival to Thailand. That’s not fair. Norway and Sweeden where unified at the time so we should get the same treatment.