Thais mark King’s birthday by doing good deeds

Thais across the Kingdom and all over the world showed their devotion to King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun on his 66th birthday last Saturday by taking part in a royal project called “The Spirit of Volunteering: We Do Good From the Heart” in which they performed good deeds and community work.

In cities, town and villages people cleared rubbish, repaired infrastructure, beautified public spaces and drained ponds to eliminate breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitos – all to show respect for His Majesty and the monarchy. Many wore yellow clothing and some planted Yellow Star trees. Yellow is King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s birth color because he was born on a Monday, the same day and color as his late father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

“To follow the path of the late King and in homage to King Rama X, I plan to spend the day with my son doing charity work to give back to the community. We will pick up rubbish along the seafront. I believe this is a great way to celebrate His Majesty’s birthday,” Amnaj Kidhen, who works as a driver in Bangkok, told the Bangkok Post newspaper.

People also lined up outside the Grand Palace, which opened its doors throughout the weekend, to sign a book filled with well wishes for the King. His Majesty visited local temples and made offerings of robes and other necessities to Buddhist monks.

Thai communities throughout the world also celebrated the day by doing good deeds. In Washington DC area, a hundred of Thai community gathered at Wat Thai Washington DC to performe charity drive on July 28. They helped pack backpacks for K5 students of Horton’s Kids to start their school this year in style and donated gift sets for families of critically ill children at John Hopkins Hospital following  its “Believe in tomorrow” program, as well as packed  giant boxes of food to be distributed for those in need in partnership with Manna Food Center. The Thai community also spent the rest of their afternoon helping bhikkhus tidy up the temple library, and clean the whole temple area.

This is the second year that Thais have celebrated King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s birthday as a public holiday. He became king following the passing of his father King Bhumibol in October 2016. King Bhumibol’s birthday on Dec. 5 will also remain a public holiday in reverence to his 70 years on the throne working for the benefit of the Thai people, and is observed as Thailand’s Father’s Day.

Palace and religious officials are developing the plans for King Maha Vaijralongkorn’s official coronation ceremony.  The date has yet to be announced. An interim period between assuming the throne and the official coronation ceremony is not unusual: King Bhumibol’s coronation ceremony took place four years after he became king.

Since King Bhumibol’s passing, his eldest son King Maha Vajiralongkorn has been performing all the duties and responsibilities of kingship. He is the tenth king of the Chakri Dynasty, founded in 1782, and is widely referred to as Rama X, with X being the roman numeral for 10.