Grand ritual honours father of Thai martial art in Ayutthaya to celebrate Muay Thai Day
Over 600 Muay Thai students on Monday participated in a grand ritual to pay their respects to ancient teachers of the martial art in a ceremony held in Ayutthaya province to mark Muay Thai Day.
The ceremony was held by the Culture Ministry at the Phra Chao Sua Throne Hall at Wat Tuek in Ayutthaya.
Phra Chao Sua, or King Sanphet VIII, or King Suriyenthrathibodi of Ayutthaya from 1703 to 1709 is regarded as the father of Muay Thai.
The grand “wai kru Muay Thai” (paying respect to all Muay Thai teachers from the ancient days) began at 8.39am with Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome presiding over the ceremony. The ceremony was also attended by Ayutthaya Governor Niwat Rungsakhon and Kowit Phakamas, director-general of the Cultural Promotion Department.
The rite to make an offering to King Sanphet VIII was held by Jarasdet Ulit, a senior Muay Thai teacher.
As part of the ceremony, 668 Muay Thai students performed a ritual dance, which is normally performed before fights, in front of the image of the late king.
As part of the ceremony, Itthiphol was also given 668 mongkhon headbands for him to give to Muay Thai teachers of the 668 students. The teachers then placed the headbands on the students and blessed them before they started performing the ritual dance.
A group of students from some schools in Ayutthaya also performed a musical play about Muay Thai to honour the ancient king.
Some Muay Thai students displayed 15 master postures of the Thai martial art and 15 sub-postures to the audience.
Itthiphol said February 6 marked the day King Sanphet VIII ascended the throne and since he was the father of Muay Thai martial art, the ministry observed the day as Muay Thai Day.
He said the offering rite was held to express gratitude to the father of Muay Thai.
The minister said Muay Thai was Thailand’s soft power that helped boost the kingdom’s popularity and the Thai government would seek to register it as a cultural heritage with Unesco later.
Also marking Muay Thai Day, a Muay Thai festival will be held at the Rajabhakti Park in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, at 4.30pm.
The so-called Amazing Muay Thai Festival 2023 will be led by celebrity boxer Buakaw Banchamek, joined by 5,000 Muay Thai boxers, who will simultaneously perform Muay Thai ritual dance.