March 21, 2015
When history comes alive with passion and warmth from a grateful nation
Where: Trat Provincial Town Hall Trat Province Southeast Thailand
How to get there: Click Here
Although Thailand has never been colonized, Trat province was occupied by the French in 1868. Some forty years later on 23rd March 1906, the then King, King Rama V, granted the areas and islands of Pratabong, Sri Sophon and Siamrat, (located to the right bank of the Mekong River and now Cambodian territories), to the French forces in exchange for the return of Trat.
The local people to show their gratitude, built a monument to King Rama V, at the City Hall to remember his efforts in restoring Trat with Thailand.
The Battle of Koh Chang
The dates of the festival also incorporates “Trat’s Day of Remembrance,” the day is to honour the ultimate sacrifice paid by the service men of the Thai Navy when on the 17 January 1941, after 35 years of military tensions between the Thais and the French, a French flotilla invaded Thai territories, where it met a much smaller force of Thai ships.
The two forces clashed in a fierce naval battle, later known as the “Battle at Koh Chang Island.” The battle lasted for almost five hours and while the Thai Navy suffered from complete devastation, they were still able to repel the French forces ensuring Trat remains part of the Kingdom of Thailand. The losses suffered by the Thai Royal Navy are still remembered today through its annual commemoration of Yutthanavi Day.
Praise from the Victors
The French forces praised the Thai Navy when their navy later released documents stated: “If we consider the fate of this battle, the Thai’s were surely at a disadvantage but the Thai naval men should be praised for their fierce determination, courage and sacrifice in the protection of their country.”
During the 5 days of the event, there will be a number historical plays, depicting the colourful history of the province, along with a traditional Thai Fair, with folk games and rides. There are also sporting events and competitions, music performances and cultural stage performances.
The whole area will be alive with the sound of vendors selling all manner of local handcrafts and local produce and of course no festival would be complete without the aroma of freshly cooked mouth-watering Thai food sold from a mass of colourful food stalls.
More about the Trat Province
Trat is Thailand’s eastern-most province, bordering Cambodia along the Khao Banthat mountain range. It is believed that the name “Trat” came from the word “Krat”, an abundant tree in the province used to create brooms. Formerly known as Mueang Thung Yai, The history of Trat can be traced back to the early 17th century during the reign of King Prasat Thong of the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
The province is also known for its beautiful gemstones such as sapphires and rubies and contains the third biggest island in Thailand that of ‘Ko Chang,’ (after Phuket and Ko Samui). The island of Koh Chang together with more than 52 surrounding smaller islands, forms the Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park, The park covers a total area of 650 km.2 of which about 458 km.2 or 70 percent is marine.
‘This festival is a combination of pride and gratitude for those that gave their lives, so that the people of this magical part of Kingdom would remain forever Thai.’
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