The Year of the Rooster is almost upon us, and people across Bangkok are getting ready to celebrate Chinese New Year. Guests staying at Centre Point Silom are ideally located to join in the festivities, with Yaowarat (Chinatown) located just down the street. There’s going to be a good time had by all!
And in honour of the Year of the Rooster, we thought we would take a moment to highlight a Thai connection to the rooster. Specifically, we’re going to take a closer look at King Naresuan and his special connection with a famous Thai rooster.
King Naresuan: One of the Great Heroes of Thai History
King Naresuan is one of the greatest heroes of Thai history. In the mid-16th century, he was a child prince taken hostage by the Burmese army to ensure that his father, the king, remained loyal to the Burmese. As a result, Prince Naresuan was raised in Burma – the land of his enemies – where he became a skilled warrior and strategist.
During this time, the ancient Thai city-state of Ayutthaya was a vassal state of Burma. But when Prince Naresuan came of age, he shifted allegiances and declared Ayutthaya free of Burmese rule. A long campaign of battles ensued, and at the end, King Naresuan emerged as the leader of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, which would ultimately go on to become the Kingdom of Siam and, later, Thailand.
King Naresuan and the Rooster
It’s worth noting that the memorial day of King Naresuan in Thailand is 25 January, placing it only three days before this year’s Chinese New Year celebration. This is interesting because the rooster is actually an important symbol for King Naresuan. In fact, wherever you see his likeness portrayed, you are likely to see a rooster or two as well.
King Naresuan’s rooster connection has to do with an ancient legend. When Prince Naresuan was still a young boy, as the story goes, he placed a bet with a young Burmese prince that his cockerel could beat the other’s in a fight. Cockfighting has long been a popular, traditional sport in South-East Asia – and this was the last military test between Prince Naresuan and his Burmese counterpart before all-out war ensued.
Of course, Prince Naresuan’s rooster won the match, and the Burmese prince was enraged. According to the legend, this is when King Naresuan began to understand that he was destined to free Ayutthaya from Burmese clutches and lead his people to a new, brighter future.
Honouring King Naresuan with Rooster Images
On 25 January, people across Thailand will visit temples and shrines that are dedicated to the life and conquests of King Naresuan. Many of them will bring small rooster figurines to set up around the shrines. In that sense, the rooster is going to be the theme of a lot of celebrating and remembrance at the end of this month.
There are many shrines and temples in Ayutthaya, which can easily be visited on a day trip from Centre Point Silom. If you would like to visit a shrine dedicated to King Naresuan before the Chinese New Year, let our front desk staff know. They’ll be happy to help you arrange transport.