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As people all over the world celebrate 09/09/09 today, Thais spent the day paying respect to the King of Thailand, King Bhumiphol Adulyadej.
King Bhumiphol Adulyadej, who will be 82 years old in December, is the world's longest reigning monarch. He's also the ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, auspicious for Thai people, so because of this, it's also why so many Thais were out in force on 09/09/09 to show how much they love their king.
All over Thailand, Thais went to temples, to office buildings, to parks, and even to small roadside shrines in many different parts of the country to make merit and pray for their king.The number '9' is also thought to be lucky in Thai culture, so Thai people think the day 09/09/09 will be an extremely lucky day for Thais and Thailand, but especially for their king.
That is why it was important for Thais to use the day to pay respect to the king and to pray he will reign forever. As one Thai woman named Malai said to me today, "Because our king is the ninth king and because the number nine is lucky, Thai people want to make sure the King knows we wish him good luck on this day, so that's why we go to the temple and pray for him or sing songs in his honor".
Image by vtveen via Flickr
Another Thai woman then went on to tell me how she had left her house earlier than normal this morning and, on her way to work, had stopped off at a Bangkok temple to "make merit", burn some incense and pray that King Bhumiphol Adulyadej will always remain lucky.Many office buildings in Bangkok erected large photographs of the king for 09/09/09.
All framed in heavy yellow or gold frames (yellow is the color always used for King Bhumiphol as it is the color for Monday, the day the king was born), they show how much Thais love and respect their king. Today, people congregated in front of the photographs and left offerings of flowers, and employees came outside to stand in front of the them to pay their respects and to sing the king's song.