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Thailand culture & traditions


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Understanding Thailand's cultures & tradtions

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Thailand culture & traditions

  1. 1. Thailand Culture & Traditions
  2. 2. The Wai <ul><li>The wai is the common form of greeting and adheres to strict rules of protocol. </li></ul><ul><li>Raising both hands, palms joined with the fingers pointing upwards as if in prayer, lightly touching the body somewhere between the chest and the forehead, is the standard form. </li></ul><ul><li>The wai is both a sign of respect as well as a greeting. Respect and courtesy are demonstrated by the height at which the hands are held and how low the head comes down to meet the thumbs of both hands. </li></ul><ul><li>The wai may be made while sitting, walking, or standing. </li></ul>Sawadee, Ka
  3. 3. The Wai 2 <ul><li>The person who is junior in age or status is the first one to offer the wai. </li></ul><ul><li>The senior person returns the wai, generally with their hands raised to somewhere around their chest. </li></ul><ul><li>If a junior person is standing and wants to wai a senior person who is seated, the junior person will stoop or bow their head while making the wai. </li></ul><ul><li>If there is a great social distance between two people, the wai will not be returned. </li></ul>Sawadee, Ka
  4. 4. Hierarchical Society <ul><li>Thais respect hierarchical relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>Social relationships are defined as one person being superior to the other. </li></ul><ul><li>Parents are superior to their children, teachers to their students, and bosses to their subordinates. </li></ul><ul><li>When Thais meet a stranger, they will immediately try to place you within a hierarchy so they know how you should be treated. </li></ul><ul><li>This is often done by asking what might be seen as very personal questions in other cultures. </li></ul><ul><li>Status can be determined by clothing and general appearance, age, job, education, family name, and social connections. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Don’t Ask <ul><li>There are some questions that should never be asked of a foreigner. Some of these can be very embarrassing to them or make them feel very uneasy. And in some cases you might get a very nasty or rude remark from them. </li></ul><ul><li>How much money do you make? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your religion? </li></ul><ul><li>How many wives do you have? </li></ul><ul><li>How many small wives do you have? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Thai Family Values <ul><li>The family is the cornerstone of Thai society. </li></ul><ul><li>Family life is often more closely knit than in western cultures. </li></ul><ul><li>The Thai family is a form of hierarchy with the parents at the top. </li></ul><ul><li>  Children are taught to honour their parents. </li></ul>
  7. 7. THAI FAMILY <ul><li>Thai family has a hierarchy with the parents at the top of it. Children are educated to always honour their parents and to thank them for the time and money spent for education. Children shall have gratitude ( &quot;KATANJOO&quot; - กตัญญู ) towards their parents. The worst insult for a Thai people is to be deemed ungrateful. </li></ul><ul><li>Many words are used in Thai language to identify all the members of the family. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Within children there is also a hierarchy. </li></ul><ul><li>Every child has an elder, called &quot;PHI&quot; or พี่ </li></ul><ul><li>Every child has a younger, called &quot;NONG&quot; or น้อง </li></ul><ul><li>When speaking to an elder, Thai children always use the word &quot;PHI&quot; ( พี่ ). When the difference of age is not important, they only use first name. Younger must respect elder, listen to their advice. Elder shall protect younger. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Everything is a question of age and sex. Seniority is a important part of Thai society. A younger person shall respect the older person. When Thai children write letters to their parents, they often begin their letter with the words &quot;FATHER, MOTHER THAT I RESPECT&quot; ( พ่อแม่ที่ฉันเคารพ ). </li></ul><ul><li>Thai children used to live not far from their parents. A big part of the wages should be given to parents. Now things are changing. With the industrialisation of Thailand, many young Thai people go to Bangkok to take their chance. They almost continue to send money to support their parents. But parents, far away from their children, have less influence on them. In previous decades parents chose the mate. Nowadays many young Thai people choose on their own. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Often Thai children continue to live in their parent's house even if they are old enough to live their own life. Especially for girls, they should not leave their parent's home if they are not married. If a girl is living alone, everybody gossip that she is a bad girl or a &quot;MIA NOI&quot; ( เมียน้อย ), mistress of a wealthy man. </li></ul><ul><li>In Thailand there is no pension when workers retire. So the only support for the old parents are their children. Thai people don't like the westerner principle to send old parents in special nursing-home. They say it is not a nice way to thank parents for all the goodness they did. All the family shall live together. Children are the assurance for the parents. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Thai Demeanour <ul><li>Thais place great emphasis and value on outward forms of courtesy such as politeness, respect, genial demeanour and self-control in order to maintain harmonious relations. </li></ul><ul><li>Many of their rules of etiquette are by-products of the Buddhist religion. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a non-confrontational society, in which public dispute or criticism is to be avoided at all costs. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>To be openly angry with someone might attract the wrath of the spirits, which in turn could cause violence and tragedy. </li></ul><ul><li>Openly criticizing a person is a form of violence as it hurts the person and is viewed as a conscious attempt to offend the person being rebuked </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of face is a disgrace to a Thai so they try to avoid confrontations and look for compromises in difficult situations. </li></ul><ul><li>If two parties disagree, one will need to have an outlet to retreat without losing face. </li></ul>Thai Demeanour 2
  13. 13. Etiquette & Customs in Thailand
  14. 14. Gift Giving Etiquette <ul><li>If invited to a Thai's home, a gift is not expected, although it will be appreciated. </li></ul><ul><li>Gifts should be wrapped attractively, since appearance matters. Bows and ribbons add to the sense of festivity. </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate gifts are flowers, good quality chocolates or fruit. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not give marigolds or carnations, as they are associated with funerals. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Gift Giving Etiquette 2 <ul><li>Try to avoid wrapping a gift in green, black or blue as these are used at funerals and in mourning. </li></ul><ul><li>Gold and yellow are considered royal colours, so they make good wrapping paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Only use red wrapping paper if giving a gift to a Chinese Thai. </li></ul><ul><li>Gifts are not opened when received. </li></ul><ul><li>Money is the usual gift for weddings and ordination parties. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Dining Etiquette <ul><li>Arrive close to the appointed time, although being a few minutes late will not cause offence. </li></ul><ul><li>Check to see if the host is wearing shoes. If not, remove yours before entering the house. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask another guest to confirm the dress code. </li></ul><ul><li>Step over the threshold rather than on it. This is an old custom that may be dying out with younger Thais, but erring on the side of conservatism is always a good idea. </li></ul>If you are invited to a Thai's house:
  17. 17. Table manners <ul><li>A fork and spoon are the usual eating utensils. However, noodles are often eaten with chopsticks. </li></ul><ul><li>The spoon is held in the right hand and the fork in the left. The fork is used to guide food on to the spoon. Sticky rice, a northern Thai delicacy, is often eaten with the fingers of the right hand. </li></ul><ul><li>Most meals are served as buffets or with serving platters in the centre of the table family- style. </li></ul><ul><li>You may begin eating as soon as you are served. </li></ul><ul><li>Leave a little food on your plate after you have eaten to show that you are full. Finishing everything indicates that you are still hungry. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Table manners 2 <ul><li>Never leave rice on your plate as it is considered wasteful. The words for food and rice are the same. Rice has an almost mystical significance in addition to its humdrum 'daily bread' function. </li></ul><ul><li>Never take the last bite from the serving bowl. </li></ul><ul><li>Wait to be asked before taking a second helping. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not lick your fingers. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Thai Traditions
  20. 20. January: Harvest Season <ul><li>Farmers work very hard for a long time  under the sun and rain in the rice-field. When the harvest season is over and the rice is saved in the barn, they arrange ceremony calls &quot; tamboon &quot;. The word &quot; tamboon &quot; means give, donate which people give away food to monks and poor people. The purpose of giving is to bless their family. </li></ul>
  21. 21. February: Maka <ul><li>&quot; Maka &quot; means 3rd month. In the lunar calendar it is called &quot; Makamass &quot; or &quot; Makabucha jaturongka- sunnibaht &quot;. Makabucha day is the full moon day in 3rd month. The celebration of Makabucha was celebrated  for the first time under King Rama IV. </li></ul>
  22. 22. March: New year eve (The old new year eve) <ul><li>New year eve ceremony starts the day before full moon in  the 4th month and goes on until the day after full moon. The purpose of ceremony is to give opportunity for people to think about age and the year that is going to go by. People make fireworks, play   drums, ring bells to chase away the evil spirits. In the old time people help each other clean houses, temples, public places, waiting for the coming new year. </li></ul>
  23. 23. April: Songkran <ul><li>13th of April is the beginning day, 14th is middle day (New Year’s Eve) and the 15th is the New Year Day. Songkran is an entertaining ceremony in  5th month, the resting period for the farmers. Time for them to enjoy and have fun before the next work season begins. People pour  water on each other, which symbolize blessing them and wishing them good luck in the coming new year. </li></ul>
  24. 24. May : Wisakabucha <ul><li>&quot;Wisakabucha&quot; means the 6th month or called &quot; wisakamas&quot; . King Rama II started the ceremony for the first time in PS 2360. (beginning of Ratanagosin Dynasty), and it has gone on until today. In Sukothai period people arrange ceremonies on the  full moon day in 6th month. people go to temple and tamboon early in the morning. Houses were  decorated with color lamps, incenses, flowers and lighted candles when night time comes. </li></ul>
  25. 25. June : Before &quot;Kaowpansa&quot; <ul><li>The  7th month. Folk mould candles and decorate them very beautifully and give them away to monks to use in the Kaowpansa period, the monks stay in the temple during the rainy period. People go in line, some of them dance , play music, drums and carry candles all the way to the temple. Tradition began at the beginning of the Ratanagosin Dynasty and continues until today. </li></ul>
  26. 26. July : Kaowpansa <ul><li>Pansa means rain or rain period. Kaowpansa season starts from the first waning noon (dark-moon) in 8th month, which is July of every year. In Kaowpasa cleans all people from sin and try to keep their soul clean and do only good things. Folks go to temple to &quot; Tamboon &quot;. </li></ul>
  27. 27. August: Gonjuck <ul><li>&quot; Gonjuk &quot; is a very old tradition. When children were one month old, the parents would shave their hair. The hair called &quot; phomfire &quot;. When hair grew back they would set up their hair in the middle of their head for both boys and girls, which symbolizes that children were clean and innocence and adult could give them good advices, be kind to them, and tough them the good ways. When girls were 11 years old and the boys were 13 years old parents arranged ceremonies for them and cut their hair or just let the hair down. It is called  &quot;Gonjuk&quot;, which means that they would become adult. (Gon=Shave, juk= the hair that set up in the middle of the head) </li></ul>
  28. 28. September: Saht <ul><li>&quot; Saht &quot; means fall when the leaves fall down. The Ceremony begins at the end of 10th month. Folks go to temples and tamboon, which people take special food with them for example  Kaowmatupayaht, Kaowyaku, Kaowtip, Grayasaht and  bananas. People always cook a lot of Grayasaht and share it with neighbours and someone they know. People celebrate Saht ceremony because of the joy of the rice on the field is grown, which the rice grain starts to grow from the rice grasses, and rice grain contains milk. The food called &quot; Kaowmatuyaht &quot; which is made from rice grain that contains milk inside. It reminds us about our religion class where Buddha ate kaowmatupayaht before he found Nirwana. </li></ul>
  29. 29. October: Thodgrathin <ul><li>Thodgrathin ceremony started since Sukothai period and it goes on until today. The period starts from the first dark-moon in 11th month and continues to full moon night called &quot; sip ha kamm &quot; in 12th month. Thodgratin is an entertainment ceremony, folk go to temple for  tamboon and then have fun at the same time. Ceremony celebrated people when the farmers finished the planting of  rice saplings and they are still small, so the people have time to enjoy themselves before harvest season comes. People collect and arranges Gratin, which is one kind of plant that people hang money on. They take Gratin and money to tamboon somewhere else, which give people opportunities to travel and meet new people and have fun at the same time. </li></ul>
  30. 30. November: Loykratong <ul><li>(fullmoon &quot;15 kamm &quot; 12th month) The water level in rivers are high, the weather is good after the rain period is over. The people make  &quot; Kratong &quot;, some sort of container made of  bananas leaf and decorate it so beautifully with flowers, incenses and candles. After sunset  people dress up and takes Kratong with them. They light candles, incenses in  kratong and then let them float out with the water stream. The purpose of this ceremony is , people show theirs respect to water's goddess  and beg for forgiveness once a year that they used water. That period is a productive period. We have rice in the field and fish in the rivers, which Thais used to say  &quot; Me kaow nai na mee pra nai hnong &quot;, means &quot; there is rice in fields and there is fish in the rivers &quot;, It means that year is a productive year. </li></ul>
  31. 31. December:   Truht Leng Kaownoom Buang
  32. 32. <ul><li>Truht = Ceremony, Leng = invite, Kaownoom Buang = a kind of food with shrimp inside. “Invitation to Kaownoom Buang” is the ceremony's name. It has to be in the winter when the water in rivers are low and there are a lot of shrimp in there. In the old times, under King Rama IV folk used to say “if a woman could cook Kaownoom Buang, bend Dimsum leaf, gamut plum and bend long  betel, and then that woman is worth  10 chung”, chung is unit of money = 800 baht, which means she has every good quality. In that time we had a different way to count money. 4     salung  =  1 baht   (25 satang = 1 salung) 4    baht       =  1 tamlung (100 satang = 1 baht) 20  tamlung  =  1 chung </li></ul>
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