Every year, the 29th of July is observed as Thai National Language Day (Wan Paa-Săa Tai Hàeng Châad — วันภาษาไทยแห่งชาติ). While regulated by the government, it’s not considered a national holiday. It was established in 1999 as a way to raise awareness of the proper use of the Thai language and the preservation of unique local dialects. The language is actually regulated by the Royal Institute of Thailand and Standard Thai is the variety spoken by educated classes in Bangkok, the capitol. July 29th was chosen as it was on that date in 1962 that His Majesty King Bhumiphol Adulyadej paid a visit to Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Arts for a discussion with students on problems with using Thai words. His Majesty emphasized the importance of using correct pronunciations and local dialects.
Thailand Post has commemorated Thai National Language Day on several occasions including issuing a set of 44 stamps in 2011 picturing each letter of the Thai alphabet and ten stamps in 2015 showing Thai numerals. For today’s stamp, I chose Scott #1169 released on 10 January 1987 to promote Thai National Children’s Day. The lithographed stamp, perforated 14½x15, reproduces a student’s drawing of a Thai schoolyard, complete with national flag and playground. The children are wearing the regular uniform of primary-level (prathom) students in the government schools — white shirt with boys wearing brown shorts and the girls wearing dark blue skirts. My students have made many similar drawings over the years. The stamp was part of a set of two, the other features students playing in and around a swimming pool (Scott #1170) forming a continuous design; I digitally cropped (but not very well!) the two stamps for this article.