Mother’s day in Thailand is not celebrated during May as many other countries do, but it is celebrated every 12th of August to mark the birthday of the queen, Her Majesty Queen Sikrit, Queen Regent of Thailand.
Born Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara in 1932, Her Majesty Queen has been revered by the Thais through her enduring charity work since the 1950’s. Being a Queen, she also promoted acceptance and tolerance to the local Muslim minorities in Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat, the southernmost provinces of Thailand. She is also adored for her humanitarian efforts in the tsunami disaster in 2004, making her very popular among the masses. Her Majesty Queen is venerated in the country’s provinces not only because of her compassion and goodwill, but they also deemed the monarchy as semi-divine. Because of this love for the royal highness, Thais made her birthday a national holiday where people celebrate Her Majesty Queen Sirikit as a mother of the people of Thailand, and at the same time, pay tribute and honor to everybody’s own mothers. The event is also known as “Wan Mae” or literally Mother’s day. Preparations start weeks before August 12. Houses will be decorated with the portrait of Her Majesty Queen, while people and various organizations will raise national flags at their homes and offices all over the Kingdom of Thailand. Lanterns, garlands, and colorful lights brighten up the streets her array of portraits is displayed.
Mother’s day in Thailand is also a time for family reunions and gatherings. The day usually will start with children giving alms to the monks. They will go to their mothers afterwards (even grandmothers and aunts); offering them a garland of flowers with a letter telling how important they are in their lives. Typically, a child will kneel in front of the mother, kissing the back of their hands while on top of their mother’s feet or what Thais called as “krub”.
A spectrum of activities is also lined up throughout the day. In Bangkok, parades are all around the city. Fireworks displays add up to the beauty of the festivity, along with the rich and vibrant colors of street lights. The heart of the celebration is near the Grand Palace in Sanam Luang, north of the Royal Residence.
Hotels and airlines are fully booked at this time of the year, just like the other national holidays. Tourists from around the world flock to Thailand to witness the grand celebration of Her Majesty Queen’s birthday and how Thais celebrate their “Wan Mae”. So if you want to see how festive Thailand is every Mother’s Day, better book early to avoid the hassle of last minute decisions.