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Coronation Day – Thailand Public Holiday (2024)

Seen Above: His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand at his Coronation Ceremony

Coronation Day is a national public holiday in Thailand, which in the Thai language is called “Wan Chat-Mongkol” (วันฉัตรมงคล). It is currently held every year on May 4th.

King Mongkut of Siam, who reigned from 1804 – 1868, created the Thai word for coronation — “chat-mongkol” (ฉัตรมงคล) — by combining the word “chat” (ฉัตร), which refers to Royal tiered umbrellas, with the word “mongkol” (มงคล), which means an auspicious sign.

Coronation Day commemorates the crowning of Thailand’s current monarch, which today is HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn (Rama X). His Majesty’s coronation ceremony was held from May 4th – 6th in 2019, after a long period of mourning for his father, King Bhumbibol the Great.

While coronation ceremonies existed in Thailand (Siam) for centuries, the first the modern day coronation began with King Mongkut, when he led a Royal Merit Making Ceremony celebrating his coronation on May 5th, 1851.


King Bhumibol the Great
King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great wearing the Great Crown of Victory while receiving Royal regalia at his Coronation Ceremony

The History of the Thai Coronation Day Holiday

Coronation Day didn’t become a public holiday in Thailand until the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1946 – 2016). During HM King Bhumibol’s 70 year reign over the Kingdom of Thailand, the Coronation Day holiday was celebrated every year on May 5th.

Coronation Day itself includes a series of ritual ceremonies that are televised live and underscore the King of Thailand’s role as both a secular and spiritual leader. These rites, derived from Hindu and Buddhist traditions, include a purification ceremony using sacred water, the chanting of mantras by assembled Thai monks, and other rituals. The king is presented with the Royal regalia, including the crown, sword, and other items that symbolize royal authority.

The most sacred item of Thailand’s Royal regalia is the Royal Nine-Tiered Umbrella known as Noppadon Maha Sawet Chat (นพปฎลมหาเศวตฉัตร). Made with white silk and gold thread, on a gold gilded post, the umbrella features nine descending circular tiers, each smaller than the one below, reflecting the celestial hierarchy. It is used exclusively during royal ceremonies, particularly coronations, and underscores the sanctity and supreme authority of the Thai king.

Coronation Day ceremonies also include the Phra Maha Phichai Mongkut (พระมหาพิชัยมงกุฎ), or “Great Crown of Victory”. Created in 1782, during the reign of King Rama I, this sacred crown is made of gold weighing 7.3 kilograms and decorated with diamonds, including a very large carat diamond at the top, which King Rama IV sourced from Calcutta, India.

Other Thailand Public Holidays (2024) during the month of May include the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, Labor Day, and Visakha Bucha Day.

David Alan