Eastern Seaboard celebrates HM the King’s birthday with parades, rifle salutes & song

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Pink shirts, candles and song were the order of the day as thousands of Eastern Seaboard residents turned out to celebrate the 84th birthday of HM the King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.

From Banglamung to Sattahip, celebrants marked Thailand’s national Father’s Day Dec. 5 with 21-gun salutes, parades and Buddhist offerings.

Festivities got underway early at the Banglamung District Office where Chief Chawalit Saeng-Uthai led a grand merit-making ceremony, offering rice and dried goods to 85 monks from area temples. Well-wishers signed birthday notes for His Majesty before singing “Sansern Phra Baramee” and “Sadudee Maharaja.”

Chaowalit Saeng-Uthai, Banglamung district chief, presides over the offering of symbolic gifts in Banglamung to His Majesty the King.Chaowalit Saeng-Uthai, Banglamung district chief, presides over the offering of symbolic gifts in Banglamung to His Majesty the King.

Monks praying and soldiers firing a rifle salute closed the ceremony.

Pattaya’s main celebration came to life late in the afternoon as thousands of Thais and foreigners adorned in pink shirts joined a festive parade from Royal Garden Plaza to Bali Hai Pier.

They carried offerings to the city’s waterfront celebration opened by Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, who praised HM the King before leading a candle-lighting ceremony and the singing of an original song penned by Issan music legend Ad Carabao.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome signs his name to the wish book for HM the King’s birthday.Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome signs his name to the wish book for HM the King’s birthday.

The city filmed the pink-bedecked masses singing out the lyrics to “His Majesty the King, the Humble Giver of Unbounded Benevolence” to add footage to its in-progress music video for the song.

Pratheep ‘Peter’ Malhotra, managing director of Pattaya Mail Media Group, emcees the English language part of the evening. Pratheep ‘Peter’ Malhotra, managing director of Pattaya Mail Media Group, emcees the English language part of the evening.

The crowd didn’t mind that the process delayed the evening’s schedule and cheered when fireworks finally filled the night sky about an hour later than planned. The finale saw celebrants sing the royal anthem together and lighting candles.

Similar, but smaller-scale, celebrations where held in Sattahip where Vice Adm. Kanat Thongpool, commander of the First Naval Area Command presided over the offerings, candle-lighting and singing of royal anthems by about 1,000 people at Prince Chumphon Camp before 85 sets of fireworks were launched.

Monks perform religious rites on the auspicious occasion of HM the King’s 84th, 7th cycle birthday.Monks perform religious rites on the auspicious occasion of HM the King’s 84th, 7th cycle birthday.

Raja Navy Commercial School cadets proudly fly HM the King’s special birthday flag during the parade down Pattaya Beach Road.Raja Navy Commercial School cadets proudly fly HM the King’s special birthday flag during the parade down Pattaya Beach Road.

Police prepare to fire a 21 gun salute.Police prepare to fire a 21 gun salute.

Foreign visitors participate in the momentous occasion.Foreign visitors participate in the momentous occasion.

Pattaya city councilors march in the parade.Pattaya city councilors march in the parade.

Navy cadets from the Raja Navy Commercial School carry a revered photo of HM the King in the annual parade down Pattaya Beach Road.Navy cadets from the Raja Navy Commercial School carry a revered photo of HM the King in the annual parade down Pattaya Beach Road.

Thousands of Pattaya citizens wear pink in honor of HM the King’s birthday.Thousands of Pattaya citizens wear pink in honor of HM the King’s birthday.

Dressed in traditional Thai outfits, these 4 from Sophon Cable TV lead their pink clad friends in the Pattaya Beach Road parade.Dressed in traditional Thai outfits, these 4 from Sophon Cable TV lead their pink clad friends in the Pattaya Beach Road parade.

Ad Carabao sings “Pra-Phu-Pid Thong Lang Phra,” or “His Majesty the King, the humble giver of unbounded benevolence”, the song he penned in honor of HM the King.Ad Carabao sings “Pra-Phu-Pid Thong Lang Phra,” or “His Majesty the King, the humble giver of unbounded benevolence”, the song he penned in honor of HM the King.

All smiles on the faces of students and faculty from the Father Ray Foundation.All smiles on the faces of students and faculty from the Father Ray Foundation.

Smartly dressed women from Mitryont Pattaya march proudly in the Pattaya Beach Road parade.Smartly dressed women from Mitryont Pattaya march proudly in the Pattaya Beach Road parade.

Pattaya School # 11 marching band keeps the beat for the marchers in the Beach Road parade.Pattaya School # 11 marching band keeps the beat for the marchers in the Beach Road parade.

Elfi Seitz (right) from Pattaya Blatt and Kamolthep Malhotra (left), representing Pattaya Mail Media Group, symbolically present Pumngern (silver) and Pumthong (gold) ornaments to HM the King.Elfi Seitz (right) from Pattaya Blatt and Kamolthep Malhotra (left), representing Pattaya Mail Media Group, symbolically present Pumngern (silver) and Pumthong (gold) ornaments to HM the King.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome reads humble best wishes for HM the King’s Royal Birthday.Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome reads humble best wishes for HM the King’s Royal Birthday.

Vice Adm. Kanat Thongpool, commander of the First Naval Area Command, leads military and civilian leaders in Sattahip in paying tribute to HM the King on His Royal Birthday.Vice Adm. Kanat Thongpool, commander of the First Naval Area Command, leads military and civilian leaders in Sattahip in paying tribute to HM the King on His Royal Birthday.

HM the King’s loyal subjects cheer on the magnificent fireworks display.HM the King’s loyal subjects cheer on the magnificent fireworks display.

City officials join Ad Carabao in sending off the fireworks display.City officials join Ad Carabao in sending off the fireworks display.

Thousands of people in Sattahip take part in the candlelight ceremony.Thousands of people in Sattahip take part in the candlelight ceremony.