The Chakri Dynasty is the current ruling royal house of Thailand. It was founded by Rama I in 1782 after the capital of Thailand, then known as Siam moved to Bangkok. All successive heirs to the throne including the country’s present King are descendants of King Rama I. To commemorate the founder of the dynasty, a holiday called Chakri Memorial Day is celebrated on April 6th.
To fully appreciate the holiday, it is best to understand the history behind the Chakri Dynasty. Prior to the establishment of the current lineage, Siam (ruled by King Taksin) was in a state of turmoil. The Burmo-Siamese War was in full swing and the Burmese army had just invaded and captured the northern Kingdom of Lana as well as Phitsanulok and was quickly approaching the capital of Ayutthaya. The city’s resistance forces, led by a young man named Thong Duang (Rama I) fought valiantly, but Ayutthaya eventually fell on April 8th 1767. This prompted the people to flee and move the capital down the Chao Phraya River into Thonburi. Rama I continued to be involved militarily in campaigns to fight back lost territories and expand Siam’s influence further. He eventually became a highly respected general and emerged as Siam’s most powerful military leader.
In the meantime King Taksin, weary from war, failed to address the people’s concerns, which caused rebellions to break out. The rebels called for Thong Duang to ascend to the throne, and on April 6th 1782, became the King of Siam. Knowing that Thonburi could be easily attacked by the Burmese from the west, King Rama I moved the capital across the Chao Phraya River into what is now Bangkok.
On April 6th Thais perform rituals to honor the past kings of the ruling dynasty, led by the current monarch of the Chakri, King Rama IX. He also pays his respects by leading religious ceremonies at the royal chapel and donning the statue of King Rama I at the Memorial Bridge with a garland.
Falling in the month of April, Chakri Memorial Day also offers Thais a day to relax before the start of the New Year (known as Songkran or Water Festival), which is only a week away. You can fully experience the April holidays in the country with our Thailand Overland tour. Discover its many wonders while you uncover traditional Thai culture, visit ancient temples and experience its natural beauty. You can also see Exotissimo’s Thailand tours page for other unforgettable trips in this marvelous country or contact us if you have any questions.
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