THAILAND
CULTURE
The Thai greeting
The Thai greeting referred to as the wai consists of a
slight bow, with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like
fashion. It is very similar to the Indian Anjili Mudra/namaste
and the Cambodian sampeah. The higher the hands are held in
relation to the face and the lower the bow, the more respect
or reverence the giver of the wai is showing.
The wai is also common as a way to thank someone
or apologise.
The word often spoken with the wai as a greeting or
farewell is sawatdee . Phonetically, the word is pronounced
"sa-wat-dee". This word was coined in the mid-1930s by
Phraya Upakit Silapasan of Chulalongkorn University.
Phraya Upakit Silapasan
This word, derived from the Sanskrit svasti (meaning
"well-being"), had previously been used in Thai only as a
formulaic opening to inscriptions. The strongly nationalist
government of Plaek Pibulsonggram in the early 1940s
promoted the use of the word sawatdee amongst the
government bureaucracy as well as the wider populace as
part of a wider set of cultural edicts to modernise Thailand.
Jompol . Plaek Pibulsonggram
Origin
The wai originated from an ancient greeting that was
done to show neither individual had any Weapons. There
exist multiple versions of the greeting based on social class,
gender, and age.
The gesture may come from Buddhism , which sometimes
involves prostration , or clasping the hands together and
bowing to the ground.
The Thai Language
The Thai language is comprised of 44 consonants, 32
vowels and five tones in Thai pronunciation, along with a
script that has Indian origins. The Thai language, belonging to
the Tai family, is the main language in Thailand although there
are several regional dialects as well.
Other languages spoken in Thailand are Chinese, Lao,
Malay and Mon-Khmer, while English use is becoming more
prevalent in government and commerce. English is also being
taught as a second language in secondary school and
universities, which enables the English speaking visitor in
Thailand to have little trouble conversing.
Information Provided by the Thai Embassy
King Ramkhamhaeng the Great who ruled the Sukhothai
Kingdom from 1279-1298 initiated the Thai inscription in 1292.
The inscription is considered to be a seminal source of
Sukhothai history as well as a masterpiece of Thai literature.
Conservative and courteous social behavior and dress are
highly valued by the Thais. The Thai pronouns for "I" are
different for male and female speakers.
Men will use 'phom' and women 'dee-chan' in formal
settings. However, it is common to drop these formal pronouns
in face-to-face conversations or to use kin terms (e.g.,
elder/younger sibling ; aunt uncle) or first names instead. Men
will also show deference by ending their questions and
statements with 'khrap', a "polite particle" to show respect and
refinement. Women end their questions and statements with
'kha'. In greeting, the Thais normally "wai" rather than shake
hands. To make the "wai," place your hands together, bringing
them up just under the nose and bow the head slightly. Because
it is a sign of respect as well, the younger person initiates the
gesture, but not the reverse.
The Thais consider the head to be sacred and the feet
profane. Touching someone's head, other than a child's, is taboo.
A younger person or someone of lower social status will even
lower their head in passing by a senior. In sitting too, especially
in the presence of monks or other exalted persons, attention
must be paid to head level. Even more caution must be taken
with the feet because of their contact with dirt. Similarly, the
left hand is "polluted" in ritual meaning.
Religion in Thailand
According to the last Census (2000th) 94.7% of Thais are.
Buddhists of the Theravada tradition.
Muslims are the second largest religious Group in
Thailand at 4.6%. Thailand's Southernmost Provinces - Pattani,
Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla Part of. Chumphon have
dominant Muslim Populations, consisting of both Thailand and
Ethnic Malay.
The TIP of Southern Thailand is mostly Ethnic. Malays .
Christians , mainly. Catholics , represent 0.8% of the population
with higher Percentages in the North. A Community of tiny
But influential. Sikhs in Thailand and some. Hindus also the
country's Live in Cities, and are heavily engaged in retail
Commerce.
Traditions
Tradition is an activity that is the continuous practice.
Unique and important to society as Composition body language
culture religion artistry law moral belief , etc.. Which lead to
various ethnic cultures of the society. Become a national
tradition and broadcast by each sequence. If tradition is well
preserved as it is already the national culture. If it is not good
to change the circumstance. Are influenced tradition come
from environment external to society.
Adopt an integrated practice into a variety of lifestyles. It is
known as traditional ways of life of society, especially religion ,
which is most influenced Thai culture. Various temples. In
Thailand reflects the influence of Buddhism with Thai society.
And indicated that the Thai focus on Buddhism with Care for
the artistic beauty since antiquity as a religious ritual
Songkran
The Songkran festival is celebrated in Thailand as the
traditional New Year's Day from 13 to 15 April.
The date of the festival was originally set by
astrological calculation, but it is now fixed. If these days fall
on a weekend, the missed days off are taken on the weekdays
immediately following. If they fall in the middle of the week,
many Thai take off from the previous Friday until the
following Monday.
Songkran falls in the hottest time of the year in
Thailand, at the end of the dry season. Until 1888 the Thai New
Year was the beginning of the year in Thailand; thereafter 1
April was used until 1940. 1 January is now the beginning of
the year. The traditional Thai New Year has been a national
holiday since then.
The most obvious celebration of Songkran is the
throwing of water. Thais roam the streets with containers of
water or water guns (sometimes mixed with mentholated talc),
or post themselves at the side of roads with a garden hose and
drench each other and passersby. This, however, was not always
the main activity of this festival. Songkran was traditionally a
time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family
members, friends and neighbors.
Some people make New Year resolutions - to refrain
from bad behavior, or to do good things. Songkran is a time for
cleaning and renewal. Besides washing household Buddha
images, many Thais also take this opportunity to give their
home a thorough cleaning.
Loy Krathong
On the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, the tide
in the rivers is highest and the moon at its brightest, creating a
romantic setting ideal for lovers. The Thai people choose this
day to hold the 'Loy Kratong' festival, or the 'festival of light.'
Loy Kratong is one of the two most recognized festivals in the
country.
Loy Kratong is probably the most picturesque and
beautiful of all Thai celebrations. 'Loy' literally means 'to float,'
while 'kratong' refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle which can
float on the water. Originally, the kratong was made of banana
leaves or the layers of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider
lily plant. A kratong contains food, betel nuts, flowers, joss
sticks, candle and coins. The making of a kratong is much more
creative these days as many more materials are available.
The Loy Kratong ritual is a simple one. One needs only
to light the candles and the joss sticks, make one's wishes and
let it float away with the current of a river or a canal.
Different legends surround the origins of Loy Kratong.
The most popular version is it was an expression of gratitude
to the goddess of water 'Phra Mae Kongka' for having
extensively used, and sometimes polluted, the water from the
rivers and canals. It is also in part a thanksgiving for her
bounty in providing water for the livelihood of the people.
November full moon shines,
Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong,
and the water's high
in the river and local klong,
Loykrathong's lyrics
Loi Loi Krathong,
Loi Loi Krathong,
Loi Krathong is here and
everybody's full of cheer,
We're together at the klong,
We're together at the klong,
Each one with this krathong,
As we push away we pray,
We can see a better day.
Thai Culture on Stamps
Thai folk games have been directly and indirectly
meaningful for the life of Thai children in many aspects.
in joining the games, besides the benefit of doing
exercises which is vital for children's physical development, they
can also learn to observe the rules of the games. And in so
doing, they learn how to compromise as well as how to be a
good winner and loser.
The children can be initiative in applying surrounding
environments to the games and they are also expected to apply
what they learn from the games to their daily lives. Such a
practice can become a pattern or guideline for them when
growing up as adults.
The most popular and well-known Thai folk games are
Kite flying, Wheel rolling, Catching the last one in the lines,
Snatching a baby from the mother snake, Spider clutching the
roof, Pebbles tossing and picking, Hide and seek, Touching a
finger on the hands, Tug of war, Chase racing, Hiding a cloth
behind one's back, Monkeys scrambling for posts, Trapping the
fish, Humming and tagging (Kabaddi), Blindfold pot-hitting,
Walking with coconut shells, Rope skipping, Piggyback racing,
Top spinning, and Banana rib hobbyhorse riding.
Blessing a New Car
Although it is not common these days because it's not
really Buddhism, you can ask a Brahman priest to come to your
house to bless a new car. In fact, the priest should be consulted
before you buy your car in order to know the precise day and
hour it is deemed auspicious to bring your car to your house
for the first time. People who are often sceptical about the
powers of a blessing in protecting the car and its occupant
often rush out to get a blessing after the car has been involved
in an accident. Although this is like locking the stables doors
after the horse has bolted, the Brahman priest told us that none
of the cars he has blessed has been involved in a further
accident.
She gave the garlands to the priest and received some
advice for her future and what she should do to maintain a
safe and fruitful life.
Then he lit a candle in
order to make some water
sacred.
The priest is putting
some of those offered in
the car for saving her from
an accident.
These garlands were
offered to the guardian
spirits of the school at the
special spirit house and
some of them were also
for the car.
Then walked around
the car sprinkling it with
the blessed water.
Whilst he was doing this, the car
owner sat in the front seat
The Brahman priest put an offering of a jasmine garland on the review
mirror, some colored pieces of cloth and painted lucky symbols on the steering
wheel and ceiling of the car
Thai Village Cultural Show
Ordination Into The Monkhood
In Thailand, young men usually spend a period of time
in the Buddhist Monkhood. Buat Naag is the traditional
procession and ceremony for entry into the Monkhood, and
is attended by the man's relatives and close friends who make
the event into a colorful, joyful and enjoyable occasion as the
young man embarks on a period of study and meditation.
Fingernail Dance
The Fingernail Dance is a graceful dance which
originated in the North of Thailand and is usually performed as
a gesture of greeting and welcome.
Thai Boxing
Thai-style boxing, accompanied by its unique ritual and
ceremony, is extremely popular in Thailand. Fighters can use
just about everything-elbows, hands, feet, knees. It is an art
that demands a high degree of skill and fitness.
Dance From The North East
A mixture of North Eastern dances which collectively
express greetings and good luck.
Sword Fighting
A traditional and historical form of combat-for both
male and female.
Bamboo Dance
Another North Thailand dance which is usually
performed when the moon is full. It demands great skill,
practice and timing-one slip can be very painful.
Thai Wedding Ceremony
Here you will have the unique opportunity of seeing
the traditional Thai wedding ceremony performed in an
authentic manner. It is a ceremony of pageantry, humility, joy
and splendour with all the friends and relatives of the newlyweds participating.
Kala Dance
The Kala Dance comes from the southern part of
Thailand. This dance features the use of coconut shells to
emphasize the importance of coconuts as part of Thai daily
consumption.
Yoey Dance
From the Central Plains of Thailand, a dance of
flirtation and fun.
Elephants at Work
Literature in Thailand
Literature in Thailand was traditionally heavily
influenced by Indian culture. Thailand's national epic is a
version of the Ramayana called the Ramakien. A number of
versions of the epic were lost in the destruction of Ayutthaya
in 1767.
Three versions currently exist: one of these was
prepared under the supervision (and partly written by) King
Rama I. His son, Rama II, rewrote some parts for khon drama.
The main differences from the original are an extended role
for the monkey god Hanuman and the addition of a happy
ending.
The most important poet in Thai literature was
Sunthorn Phu, who is best known for his romantic adventure
story Phra Aphai Mani and nine travel pieces called Nirats.
Kings Rama V and Rama VI were also writers, mainly
of non-fiction works as part of their programme to combine
Western knowledge with traditional Thai culture.
20th century Thai writers have tended to produce light fiction
rather than literature, but the Isan region has produced two
notably sociocritical writers in Kamsing Srinok and Pira
Sudham.
Thailand has had a wealth of expatriate writers in the
20th century as well. The Bangkok Writers Group is currently
publishing fiction by Indian author G.Y. Gopinath, the fabulist
A.D. Thompson, as well as non-fiction by Gary Dale Cearley.
Ramakien
The Ramakien is Thailand's national epic, derived from the
Indian Ramayana epic.
A number of versions of the epic were lost in the
destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767. Three versions currently
exist, one of which was prepared in 1797 under the supervision
of (and partly written by) King Rama I. His son, Rama II,
rewrote some parts of his father's version for khon drama. The
work has had an important influence on Thai literature, art and
drama (both the khon and nang dramas being derived from it).
While the main story is identical to that of the
Ramayana, many other aspects were transposed into a Thai
context, such as the clothes, weapons, topography, and
elements of nature, which are described as being Thai in style.
Although Thailand is considered a Theravada Buddhist society,
the Hindu mythology latent in the Ramakien serves to provide
Thai legends with a creation myth, as well as representations
of various spirits which compliment superstitions derived from
Thai animism.
A painted representation of the Ramakien is displayed
at Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaew, and many of the statues there
depict characters from it.
Traditional Thai musical instruments are the musical
instruments used in the traditional and classical musics of
Thailand. They comprise a wide range of wind, string, and
percussion instruments played by both the Thai majority as
well as the nation's ethnic minorities.
In the traditional Thai system of organology, they are classified
into four categories, by the action used in playing:
1. Plucking (plucked string instruments)
2. Bowing (bowed string instruments)
3. Striking (percussion instruments and hammered
dulcimer)
4. Blowing (wind instruments)
String
Plucked
Jakhe - crocodile-shaped fretted floor zither with three strings
Phin - three-stringed lute used in the Isan region of
northeastern Thailand
Phin phia - chest-resonated stick zither played by the Lanna of
northern Thailand
Sueng - plucked lute from the Lanna region of northern
Thailand
Bowed
Saw duang - higher two-string fiddle with hardwood body; used
in classical music
Saw sam sai - three-string spike fiddle with coconut shell body;
used in classical music
Saw u - lower two-string fiddle with a coconut shell body; used
in classical music
Salo - three-string spike fiddle used in the Lanna region
Struck
Khim - hammered dulcimer
Percussion
Drums
Taphon or klawng taphon - sacred barrel drum; played with the
hands and used in the piphat ensemble
Glong thad - large drum played with sticks; usually played in a
pair and used in the piphat ensemble
Rammana - frame drum; played with the hand
Thon - goblet drum; played with the hand
Glong yao - long drum; played with the hands
Glong chatri - same Glong thad but smaller than,played with
sticks,use in the piphat chatri
Gong chimes
Khong wong lek - higher gong circle; comprises many small
tuned bossed gongs mounted in a rattan frame
Khong wong yai - lower gong circle; comprises many small
tuned bossed gongs mounted in a rattan frame
Khong mon - set of many small tuned bossed gongs arranged
in vertical curved frame; usually primarily in funeral music
Khong rang - set of eight tuned gongs suspended horizontally
in a straight frame; similar to the southern Philippine
kulintang; rare
Keyboard
Ranat - trough-resonated keyboard percussion instrument;
generally played with two mallets and used in Thai classical and
theater music
Ranat ek - higher xylophone, with bars usually made of
hardwood
Ranat thum - lower xylophone, with bamboo or hardwood
bars
Ranat ek lek - higher metallophone
Ranat thum lek - lower metallophone
Ranat kaeo - crystallophone; very rare
Pong lang - pentatonic log xylophone used in the Isan region
Gongs
Khong chai , also called khong hui or khong mui - huge
hanging bossed gong used for indicating time
Khong mong or mong - medium-sized hanging bossed gong
used in Thai ensembles
Clappers
Krap - clapper
Krap phuang - bundle of hardwood and brass slats, tied
together at one end
Krap sepha - pair of bamboo or hardwood sticks
Cymbals
Ching - pair of small, thick cymbals joined by a cord; used to
mark time
Chap - pair of flat cymbals joined by a cord
Chap lek - smaller
Chap yai - larger
Shaken bamboo
Angkalung - set of tuned bamboo tubes mounted in a frame and
shaken; generally played by a group. comes from Indonesia.
Bronze drums
Mahorathuek - bronze drum; dates back to the Dong Son
culture of antiquity and today very rare
Wind
Flutes
Khlui - vertical duct flute made of bamboo, hardwood, or plastic
Wot - circular panpipe used in the Isan region of northeast
Thailand
Free-reed
Khaen - mouth organ used in the Isan (northeastern) region
Oboes
Pi - quadruple- or double-reed oboe
Pi chanai - possibly derived from the Indian shehnai
Pi chawa - used to accompany Muay Thai
Pi mon - large double-reed oboe with detachable metal bell;
used for funeral music
Pi nai - standard leading instrument used in the piphat
ensemble
Pi nok
Horns
Trae - metal horn
Sang - conch shell horn; also called trae sang (แตรสั งข์ )
Northeast
Huen - This drum is shaped like a drum that is used in the
puangmangkog set. It is always played with a piphat ensemble.
Khaen - mouth organ
Wot - a circular panpipe made of 6-9 various lengths of small
bamboo pipes (mai-ruak or mai-hia, mai-ku-khan)
Phin - a fretted, plucked lute
Pong lang - log xylophone played by two players with hard
stick. Its shape is like a xylophone consisting of 15 wooden bars
stringed together
Jakhe (Kabue) - one of the important instruments in the mahori
khamen ensemble. It has three strings
Grajabpi - The krachappi is a plucked stringed instrument. Its
turtle shape sound box is made of jackfruit wood
Saw kantruem - a bowed string instrument with a wooden
soundbox, the head of which is covered with snakeskin.
Glong kantruem - a single-headed drum
Pi salai - a double-reed oboe accompanied with kantrum
ensemble
Krap khu - a pair of hard wooden bars two pairs made a set,
played with both hands as percussion in "Kantruem ensemble".
North
Salo - a bowed fiddle with three strings and a free bow. The
resonator is made of coconut shell cut off on one side.
Sueng - is a plucked string instrument, made of teak or
hardwood. A round sound hole is cut on the top soundboard.
Khlui - The same as the Central Thai khlui.
Pi chum (called pi so in northern Thailand) - a free reed pipe
made of bamboo, with a single metal reed
Pi nae - a double reed oboe that resembles the saranai or chani
but larger in size; it is made of wood and usually accompanies
the large gong.
Phin phia - or sometimes simply called "pia" or "phia". The body
is made from a coconut shell.
Glong teng thing - Klong Teng-thing is a two faced tabular
drum and used as one of percussive instrument.
Talotpot - or Malotpot is a two-faced tubular drum of 100
centimeters long.
Glong tingnong - The biggest and longest drum with one face
made of hide about 3–4 metres long.
Glong sabat chai - The most famous drum in northern, hanging
on the double wooden bars carried by men
South
Thap - The goblet-shaped drum used for providing the changes
of rhythm and also for supporting rhythm of the Nora
(Southern dance drama).
Glong nora - Klong nora or Klong nang: a barrel-shaped drum
used to accompany the Nora dance or the Nang talung
(Shadow puppet) performance
Mong ching - Mong and Ching: two important percussion
instruments used fo accompanying the Nora dance (dance
drama) and the Nang talung (shadow puppet) performance.
Khong khu - pair of small bossed gongs suspended horizontally
in a wooden box; used in theater music and music of southern
Thailand
Pi - a quadruple-reed oboe type with six finger holes
producing at least three octaves of pitches range.
Trae phuang - Trae phuang or Krap phung: a percussion used
to provide rhythmic punctuation of the Nora ensemble.