Khomsan led the flower-garland ceremony Jan. 18 with wife and Chonburi Red Cross chief Busarawadee joining in for the Taksinannupthan merit-making ceremony. In a speech, the governor recalled the legend of the 16th century king whose exploits still are the subjects of movie blockbusters. The king’s 1593 battle against Burmese invaders in 2005 became Royal Thai Armed Forces Day. The king’s death is also commemorated in April.
Chonburi Red Cross chief Busarawadee Ekachai lays flower ornaments to pay homage to King Naresuan on Thai Armed Forces Day.
Born in 1555, Naresuan was king of the Ayutthaya Kingdom from 1590 until his death in 1605. He was known for his campaigns to free Siam from Burmese rule and his numerous wars helped Siam reach its greatest territorial extent and influence.
During the Chonburi ceremony, Khomsan retold the romanticized version of the battle that has come to be known as “Yuddhahatthi.” According to the fable, which has been retold and embellished over the centuries, Naresuan was about to invade Cambodia when he had to change plans to beat back an attack from Burmese Prince Minchit Sra.
During the battle, Naresuan’s elephants went mad and ran into the midst of the Burmese. Siamese legend contends the Burmese tried to fool the defenders with Minchit imposters, but Naresuan was able to point out the real general and challenged him to a one-on-one battle on the back of elephants. The Siamese king suffered a cut to the head, but fought back, slashing the Burmese prince to death.