National Children’s Day (wan dek haeng chaat) is held on the second Saturday of January every year. It was established back in 1955 as a means of celebrating the kingdom’s most valuable resource, as well as teaching young people the importance of their role in society; the respect and love due to their elders and the monarchy; and fostering in them a sense of civic duty, self-discipline and responsibility. As such, the motto for this year’s Children’s Day, coming up on Saturday 13 January, is จงบำเพ็ญตนให้เป็นประโยชน์ต่อผู้อื่นและส่วนรวม or “Conduct yourselves for the benefit of others and the common good”.
Of course, this being Thailand, these rather stern principles are instilled with a very large helping of ‘sanuk’, or fun. In Krabi, the government-sponsored events will be concentrated around the riverside Thara Park in town, as well as in the grounds of the district council office in Ao Nang (Klong Haeng Soi 10).
Expect to see (and hear!) thousands of kids engaged in activities such as drawing, face-painting and pottery-making. There will also be shows from local schools of traditional dance and puppetry, sports day races – both serious (running, jumping etc.) and fun (eating and beauty contests) – as well as educational booths teaching children about the environment, health and their Thai heritage. Most importantly, from the children’s point of view, there are also free ice creams and fizzy drinks on tap, so there is general sugar-fuelled chaos. Local businesses donate fabulous prizes to give away and present-giving among friends and family is common.
Tourists with children will be welcome to bring them along to the events, which will start early morning on Saturday and continue until early afternoon, when everyone is burnt out. It will also be a fun place for everyone to observe Thai culture – and take some great pictures.