Thais may disagree on the political front these days but one thing they all have in common is their overwhelming respect for the King. The country came together this week for a few days of celebrating this event. Although the actual birthday was not until December 5, the festivities started the day before. In Bangkok, a truce was called for a couple days to celebrate this special event. The demonstrations were predicted to begin again today (Friday).
One thing you never do in this country is show any disrespect for the monarchy. People will spontaneously bring up members of the royal family in conversation and their faces light up when they do so. In every theatre in the country, before every movie begins, the audience stands as the royal anthem is played and a short video about the King is shown. And so this week we headed to the central area of the city to take part in the celebrations.
They love parades here and any excuse for one is good enough to bring forth the marching bands and hoopla! And the King’s birthday certainly falls into the category of warranting a show. Many community groups took part along with lots of schools, traditional groups and even two elephants for good measure. In front of Thapae Gate, we watched as individuals and small groups of all ages danced and sang their hearts out. Many gifts were formally offered to the King and the two elephants were brought forward through the crowd (only in Thailand!) to give their blessings.
Hopefully, the pics will give you some idea of the festivities. Coming up this weekend, the Chiangmai International Balloon Festival (as in hot air balloons).