In 1956 Prime Minister Field Marshal P. Pibulsongkram, who was the Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Teachers' Council at that time, addressed a gathering of teachers from throughout the country and suggested that as teachers were our benefactors and persons who gave light to our life they should have a day of their own so that their students would get an opportunity to pay respect to them. He continued, "On other auspicious days such as New Year's Day and the Songkran Festival we pay a tribute to both our living and dead relatives and make merit in dedication to their souls. Since our teachers play an important role next to our parents, I would like to propose the idea to this gathering and ask you to consider it in principle. I hope no one will object to this idea."
As a result of his remarks and the welcoming opinions expressed by the teachers through the media, which reported that a Teacher's Day should be held in order to remember their significance as the ones who make a great sacrifice and do good deeds for the benefit of the nation and the people as a whole. The Teachers' Council unanimously agreed to set up Teachers' Day in order to hold a ceremony to pay a tribute to the teachers, to promote unity among teachers and to promote better understanding between teachers and the general public.
Thus, on November 21, 1956, the Cabinet passed a resolution to announce January 16 of Every year as Teachers' Day and it was celebrated for the first time on January 16, 1957. The event has been held since then and is held nationwide. The highlights of the day include religious activities, a ceremony of paying respect to teachers and activities to strengthen unity among teachers.
To express our gratitude to the teachers, we wish them and their families happiness and a good health throughout their long life.
This story comes from "Essays on Thailand" by Thanapol Chadchaidee. It is used here with his permission. The book contains 60 essays about Thailand written in Thai and English.