Thais across the country will experience a rare delight today - a grand public audience granted by their much-beloved King from a balcony; an event known as Seehabanchorn in Thai.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world’s longest-reigning monarch, but throughout his more than six-decade reign, he has granted such a grand public audience only five times before. Today, he turns 85 and will receive his people’s best wishes directly when he appears on a balcony of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall.
The event is set to go down as an impressive moment in Thailand’s history.
A sea of yellow – the colour associated with His Majesty’s birthday – will appear in the public space in front of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall once again as chants of “Long Live the King” resonate far and wide.
Out of their overwhelming love and respect for their monarch, Thais relish every opportunity to get a glimpse of His Majesty and to express their loyalty.
When His Majesty celebrated the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne, in 2006, about a million yellow-clad people showed up in front of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall to extend their best wishes.
Millions of other Thais were glued to the television for the grand public audience. As His Majesty raised his hand to greet his subjects, a large number of Thais shed tears of delight.
Seehabanchorn grand public audiences involving a balcony take place on very important occasions only.
The current monarch granted his first Seehabanchorn audience on May 7, 1950, at the Phutthaisawan Throne Hall, at the Grand Palace, as part of his coronation ceremony.
The second took place at the Phutthaisawan Throne Hall on October 18, 1956, when His Majesty announced his decision to be ordained.
On January 19, 1961, His Majesty granted another Seehabanchorn audience from a balcony of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall to mark his return to the Kingdom after a seven-month trip to 14 countries.
The fourth was held at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. It took place on December 5, 1999, on the occasion of His Majesty’s Sixth Cycle Birthday Anniversary.