Chakri Day is a national holiday in Thailand, commemorating the accomplishments of King Rama I, as well as all the other kings of the dynasty. According to the lunar calendar, the holiday falls on April 6, 2015. Whenever April 6 falls on a weekend, Chakri Day is celebrated on the following Monday.
The official name of the holiday is King Buddha Yodfa Chulalok Day or Chakri Dynasty Memorial Day. It commemorates the Chakri Dynasty’s establishment when Rama I was coroneted on April 6, 1782 by King Rama. Rama I established himself as king by invitation of the people and nobles.
The short-lived previous reign of King Taskin was marked by war, as he attempted to secure the country. With peace restored, King Rama I was able to secure the country further and begin its reconstruction.
One of King Rama's first acts was to make Krung Thep (modern day Bangkok) the capital of Siam, transferring it from the west bank of the Chao Phraya River to the east bank. He commanded the construction of moats around the capital, to ensure its safety and security from marauding outsiders.
In addition to securing the country’s capital, he worked to create a national identity by developing Thai arts and culture and resisting foreign influences. Moreover, new temples were built in the unique Thai architectural style.
King Rama I was a devout Buddhist and is credited with commanding the revision of the Tipitaka Buddhist Scriptures. The result was a book made of palm leaves on which the scriptures were inscribed. With its frames and back and front covers made of solid gold, this particular edition is known as the Golden Edition of the Tipataka.
Prior to and during the time of King Rama I’s reign, the monarchy was owner of all property and lives in the country. Despite this limitless power, King Rama I abided by the royal codes, rules and regulations, known as the Ten-Fold Virtues of the Monarch, based on Buddhist precepts. These precepts extol the virtues of sacrifice, giving, honesty, integrity, austerity, gentleness, non-violence, patience and non-deviation from Buddhist practices and thought.
Although Chakri Day commemorates the coronation of Rama I, it is also a day for the people of Thailand to recognize the contributions of all the kings of the Chakri Dynasty. His Royal Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King Rama IX, is the ninth and current in the dynasty’s succession.
How is Chakri celebrated in Thailand?
On Chakri Day, His Royal Majesty, along with other members of the royal family, preside over religious ceremonies in the royal chapel. At the Royal Pantheon, he lays a wreath by King Rama I’s statue, while paying respects to his predecessors. The Royal Pantheon houses life-size statues of the first eight kings of the Chakri Dynasty
As a national holiday, all government offices, schools, and banks close; however, most business remain open.