Mother’s Day is the Queen’s birthday, August 12. To read about the history of this holiday, see my previous post. To honor her majesty the Queen, people hang her picture everywhere, even on the sides of buildings. They then fly 2 flags next to the portrait, a Thai flag and then a blue flag with the royal emblem on it. The flag is blue because Queen Sirikit was born on a Friday. (On a side note, everyday in Thailand has a color associated with it. Sunday- red, Monday- yellow, Tuesday- pink, Wednesday- green, Thursday- orange, Friday- blue, and Saturday- purple. Since I was born on a Thursday, my color is orange.)
The Queen’s display at the Worldbase.
At church service on Sunday, we honored the Queen by showing a video about her life and then praying for her. We also all wore blue. The children also came forward and sang two traditional songs about mothers.
At the end of service, all the mothers were invited to sit up front. Their children then brought them jasmine flowers and a shirt they had made. Jasmine flowers are given at Mother’s Day because they symbolize the selfless devotion mothers give to their children on a daily basis. After presenting their mother with the gift, the children then bow before their mother. It is one of the few times you get to see physical affection shown in Thailand and it was very touching. Most of the mothers were crying seeing their children show them so much respect and honor.
Mother’s day in Thailand is on August 13 every year. It is not on a set day, but a set date. This date was chosen because it is the Queen’s birthday. Queen Sirikit was born on Friday, August 13, 1932 and became queen in 1950. Only one year later, she became a mother herself. Queen Sirikit loves and cares for the Thai people as much as she is able. She has started multiple hospitals, schools, and travels to poor communities to help them find ways to make ends meet. The Thai people love and respect her. Since Queen Sirikit cares so much for the Thai people, she is called the mother of all Thai citizens. Thais have long celebrated the birthday of the queen as a national holiday, which also doubles as Mother’s Day. To read more about the life of Queen Sirikit, click here.
In my classes, I keep asking my students what they are going to do for Mother’s Day. In my morning ladies class, none of them were planning anything special. They just told me that they would go to the temple to honor the Queen but were doing nothing special with their families, it was just another day. When I pressed them on it, they replied that every day is special and they go out to eat regularly. Seeing that I was confused, they then told me that Mother’s Day has only been a holiday for a short time, so they are not used to celebrating it. It is not a special day to them, the Queen’s birthday is good enough.
It was only in 1976, that is was declared that the Queen’s birthday would also be Mother’s Day. For more information, visit this site.