Thai traditions 08/11/2017

Thai Traditions

Greetings - Thai people use their own salutation to denote respect. It is a prayer like gesture, where you bow your head slightly while resting your palms together at chest or nose level. The gesture is known as "the wai", it's an indispensable part of Thai etiquette and can be used to express a hello, thank you, or goodbye. 

Clothes - Thai outfit or "chut thai" is a clothing worn by both men and women as well as younger people and children. For women a Chut thai consist a pha nung or chong kraben, a blouse and a sabai, while for men a chong kraben or pants, a shirt with a Rah pattern and also have the option to wear knee-length white socks and along with a sabai. 

Dining - It is a Thai tradition for families -since Thai families are usually big-  to enjoy and share their meal together on the floor mat using no fork nor spoon just their hands and specifically, their right hand. Rice, the main dish is served to every member of the family individually and placed on the outer circle. The shared dishes; side dish food is found in the center of the circle with shared spoons.  The reason behind using their bare hand to eat is the food. Thai food does not need any forks or knifes as the food is not stable enough for a fork and there is no need to chop anything. When the fork was introduced to Thai culture initially its single purpose was to push the food onto the spoon. Nowadays, the influences of other countries and cultures can be seen in Thai dining as Thai people now use more than just their bare hands, they use cutlery as well as chopsticks. 

Marriage - For a Buddhist monk to arrive at a wedding ceremony was considered a bad omen as their attendance was required during funerals, therefore a blessing from the temple would be seek a week before or after the marriage, with the couple also sometimes consulting a monk to avoid any auspicious dates for the wedding. Nowadays, those restrictions have been put to an ease. As for the ceremony, usually it consists of two parts; the Buddhist component and the non-Buddhist component. The first includes prayers and gift offering to monks and Buddha images, while the latter is steeped in folk traditions, focused on the families of the couple.  

Funerals - According to tradition, a funeral in Thailand is at least a week long and is fully focused on making merit for the deceased. People are encouraged not to cry so that the spirit of the deceased won't be worried or disturbed. Some of the activities that take place during that week include prayers from Monks, distribution of copies of Buddhist scriptures in the name of the deceased, gift giving to a local temple as well as displaying a good picture of the deceased next to his coffin. Moreover, to transfer a monk's recitation merit a thread held by the monks is connected to either the corpse or the coffin. The corpse is not buried but instead is cremated and the ashes are placed in an urn which in turn is kept in the local temple in a chedi.   

National Anthem and Respect for the Flag and King - All Thai media outlets play the national anthem twice a day, at 08:00 and again at 18:00. During the anthem Thais stop whatever they are doing and stand at attention so that to pay homage to the flag. During school days, at school, students stand in front of the raised flag and sing the national anthem at 08:00. This dates back to 1935 during which Royal Gazette published regulations for the raising and lowering of the colors. The anthem should be taken seriously by everyone as whoever fails to stand silently during the anthem, is to pay a fine of up to 2,000 baht and even face imprisonment of up to a year, by The Flag Act of 1979. Similarly, everyone is to stand during the royal anthem of the King of Thailand which is played before movies, concerts, and sporting events.

Now that's what I call a country steeped in tradition!! 

Emily from StayPlanet


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