December may be globally accepted as the last month of the year.  However, according to the Lunar Calendar used in many countries in Asia, including Thailand, December is the first month of the year.  It is the month of a great beginning and various great events especially for the Thais.

December is a month of King's birthday Photo by: Pornchai Akekosol

Light decoration on King’s Birthday along Ratchadamnern Ave.
Photo by: Mr. Pornchai Akekosol

In this month, many people could feel the sense of holiday season.  Shopping malls offer big promotion and are beautifully decorated with fanciful lighting.  Big Christmas trees are visible in front of the shopping malls and hotels to celebrate X’mas, even though the majority of Thais are self-proclaimed Buddhists. After all, this is a great tool to draw attention of people to come to their shops and buying gifts.

Illuminated Christmas tree and light decoration in front of a shopping mall in center of Bangkok

Illuminated Christmas tree and light decoration in front of a shopping mall, Bangkok

However, December is a meaningful month for Thais nationwide. It is the birth month of beloved King Bhumipol who turns 88 years in 2015.  The big celebration on the King’s birthday, December 5, will be organized by the government and other private organizations. The main streets in Rattanakosin Island or Bangkok’s old quarter near the Temple of the Emerald Buddha will be illuminated and adorned with flowers and pictures of the king. Several ceremonies and social events are also part of the celebration.

Troop of Colors parade for the King on 3 Dec.

Troop of Colors parade for the King on 3 Dec.
Photo by Mr. Somchai Imchoo

The Troop of Colors was the first event of the month took place in early December, usually on 3 December.

Therefore, it is really a good time to visit Bangkok and take part in this auspicious event.  You can see various traditional plays such as Thai Puppets, Khon (traditional Thai mask performance), and some others along Ratchadamnern Avenue and Sanam Luang.

Traditional Thai Puppet Plays or Hoon Krabok performed at Sanam Luang to celebrate King's Birthday

Traditional Thai Puppet show at Sanam Luang to celebrate King’s Birthday.
Photo by: Pol Sen.Sgt.Maj. Wutthikrieng Khongthanachaloemphon

This year, there is a special event that Thai people can take part and show respect and gratitude to the king. The ‘Bike for Dad’ event was held on December 11 as a symbol of respect for the King through biking. Earlier this year in August, the country celebrated the Queen’s birthday with ‘Bike for Mom’ and received great enthusiasm from more than 146,000 bikers nationwide, who participated in the event with. The ‘Bike for Dad’ activity drew even a bigger crowd of 568,427 bikers for the whole country, with 99,999 bikers in Bangkok.

Bike for Dad, a biking event to celebrate King's Birthday Photo by: Mr. Witsanu Deetuam

Bike for Dad, a biking event to celebrate King’s Birthday
Photo by: Mr. Witsanu Deetuam

The activity stated at 3 pm and officially ended about 9 pm with some bikers reaching the finished point around midnight. In Bangkok, the biking route was 29 km, starting from the royal ground in front of Anantasamakom Throne Hall passing various roads, including Siriraj Hospital where HM the King has stayed.  The biking was led by HRH Crown Prince of Thailand and followed by his two daughters, HRH Princess Patcharakittiyabha and Princess Siriwanwalinareeratana.

Bike for Dad troop passing the China Town Photo by: Mr. Witsanu Deetuam

Bike for Dad troop passing the China Town
Photo by: Mr. Witsanu Deetuam

December marks the end of the year.  It starts with the loyal moment on the King’s Birthday, Christmas and, then, New Year’s Eve. So it is quite true to say that December is the month of celebrations…. Happy New Year to you all!