BANGKOK, 30 April 2015: Thailand’s commercial sector, banks and government offices enjoy another long break starting with Labour Day, 1 May and ending with Thailand’s Coronation Day, 5 May.
Labour Day was adopted to give workers an opportunity to take a break, although Thailand’s workers arrive at this holiday already refreshed by a five to seven-day break during the annual Songkran Festival in mid-April.
Labour Day is observed in more than 80 countries.
This year, the holiday falls on a Friday and the 5 May Coronation Day holiday on a Tuesday. To give Thais a five-day holiday break the government announced Monday as a holiday.
The government says adding the extra day will encourage Thais to travel in their own country and spread tourism revenue to secondary destinations. However, the long break also encourages Thai families to book overseas holidays and air fares have dropped due to low-cos airline competition and the Thai baht is currently strong against many foreign currencies.
The holiday falls during the long summer break for Thai schools and universities offering families an opportunity to travel together.
Thailand has around 23 public holidays a year depending on which list you adopt. (government, banks or commercial). Most companies go with the commercial list.
5 May marks the coronation day of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.
Coronation Day is known in Thai as Wan Chatramongkhol, but it involves religious and civil ceremonies that cover a three-day period, leading up to Tuesday.
HM the King came to the throne in June 1946 following the death of his elder brother. As he was only 18 at the time, the new monarch returned to Switzerland to complete his studies before returning to Thailand for the official coronation 5 May, 1950.
HM the King is the world’s longest reigning monarch.
The coronation anniversary starts with making merit or a “tham boon” ceremony 3 May to honour HM the King’s ancestors. Later on the same day, another ceremony is performed, to present flags of honour to distinguished to military units.
On 4 May, Buddhist ceremonies continue with chanting and sermons as well as rituals performed by Brahman priests.
On 5 May, His Majesty the King, or his selected representative, conducts a merit making ceremony, presenting offerings to Buddhist monks, and leads a “Wien Thien” ceremony, (walking three times around the courtyard of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
In the evening HM the King conducts another sacred ceremony: changing the yellow robe on the Emerald Buddha, the guardian symbol protecting the Thai people.
Reception halls and rooms in the Royal Palace are open to the public on Coronation Day. There are usually big crowds throughout the day at the both the temple and palace, as residents and visitors take the opportunity to enter the palace halls and view Royal project exhibitions.
TTR Weekly’s business day news posts resume Wednesday 6 May. However international news, relating to travel will be updated on the website during the holiday.