Constitution Day in Thailand takes place annually on December 10. However, if it falls on a weekend, it will be observed the following Monday. This year, it will take place on . This day is a celebration of the day Thailand adopted the first permanent constitutional monarchy in 1932. On this day, all government offices, schools, banks, and commercial establishments are closed, and Thai people hold parades, fireworks, and festivities to thank the monarchy for limiting its power. Learn more about this holiday’s rich history and the local celebrations.
History of Constitution Day in Thailand
Before the institution of the constitutional monarchy, Thailand, previously called ‘Siam,’ was significantly affected by the Great Depression, reaching an economic low. While Rama VII ruled the country, the Thai people often criticized his young age and lack of experience and knowledge in running a kingdom. Siam’s disastrous economy further emphasized this. These criticisms led to the formation of the People’s Party, composed mainly of intellectuals, scholars, police, army, senior military personnel, and Bangkok’s “elite” group.
The People’s Party aimed to convince the king to reduce his power through a constitutional monarchy, which would retain him as the head of state and military and defender of all religions. At first, the king refused. However, on December 10, 1932, he allowed his powers to be stripped while maintaining his position as king. The bloodless coup limited the king’s capacity and gave the public the power to elect government representatives. Since then, there have been 20 constitutions written for Thailand. On November 7, 1937, the first democratic elections with half of the People’s Assembly were held. This also marked the first time women were granted the right to vote. Shortly after World War II, in 1946, the first election with the entire People’s Assembly was held.
It wasn’t until 1997 that Thailand’s most democratic constitution was drafted, giving the people complete democratic rights. Today, Thailand implements the 2017 Constitution, making the parliament bicameral and retaining the military’s power.
Constitution Day in Thailand timeline
King Rama VII agrees to have his power reduced but remains king.
The first democratic elections were held with only half of the People’s Assembly participating.
The entire People’s Assembly participates in the democratic election for the first time.
The 1997 Constitution grants the people of Thailand complete democratic rights.
Constitution Day in Thailand FAQs
Is Thailand under a military dictatorship?
No, Thailand’s military dictatorship was annulled in 2014.
Does Thailand have freedom of speech?
Yes, freedom of speech was part of the guarantees of the 1997 Constitution.
What is Thailand known for?
Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country to have never been colonized by European settlers.
How to Observe Constitution Day in Thailand
Attend parades in Bangkok
The most traditional way to celebrate Thailand Constitution Day is attending the parades held in Bangkok. The king’s images are usually brought out and displayed so that the people can show their gratitude and appreciation for the monarch.
Watch firework displays
Take your friends and family with you and enjoy the sight of fireworks across the country. Whether in the city or the province, firework displays are a staple during this holiday.
Cook your favorite Thai food
Thailand Constitution Day is usually the start or end of a long weekend. Grab this opportunity to enjoy extra time at home with your family and cook your favorite Thai recipes to celebrate.
5 Facts About Thailand That You Didn’t Know
King Rama VII was only 39
King Rama VII ruled at only 39 years old and was one of the youngest kings to run Thailand.
You can view the original 1932 constitution
The original 1932 constitution is displayed at the Thai Parliament Museum in Bangkok.
Siam changed its name to Thailand
Siam adopted the name ‘Thailand,’ which means “land of the free,” as part of the people’s freedom the constitutional monarchy gave the country.
Its constitution is called the People’s Constitution
The 1997 Constitution is often called the People’s Constitution because it prioritizes human rights.
One of its kings was only 22
At 22, King Bhumibol the Great was crowned king, making him the youngest king to rule the country.
Why Constitution Day in Thailand is Important
It reminds us of our freedom
The constitutional monarchy's goal was to give the power of the land to the people. The celebration is an excellent reminder of the people’s freedom and human rights and what it took to achieve those.
A day to thank the king
The constitutional monarchy wouldn’t exist without King Rama VII’s approval. However, he made sure to prioritize the betterment of his people. This is the day to show gratitude to the monarchs by celebrating their kindness and consideration when Thailand needed change and support the most.
A long weekend of festivities
Festivities happen left and right during Thailand Constitution Day. It’s a fun day to relax, unwind, and spend a long weekend with your friends and family.
Constitution Day in Thailand dates