Customs and traditions
In Thailand, people generally have great
respect for the king and his family, for Buddhism and
the monk as well as for Thailand as a nation. The famous
Thai smile is often used to hide negative emotions and
mitigate conflict-related situations.
The customs and customs described in this chapter
primarily affect the Thai people who make up a large
majority of the country's population. Life patterns,
beliefs, customs and traditions among ethnic minorities,
such as Khmer, Chinese, Malay, Hmong, Yao, Akha, Lahu,
Lisu and Karen, are not very different from the Thai
Overview of the capital city of Thailand, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
To greet each other
Thais greet each other with a so-called wai, when you
place your palms against each other roughly in height
with the chest, with your fingertips pointing upwards
towards the chin tip. At the same time, the greeting
person should bend lightly on the head.
A younger person should health first, while an older
person responds by placing his wai slightly lower than
the younger one. The higher the hands are placed on the
body, the deeper the respect shown. In cases where a
Thai greets the Buddha or a royal, the fingertips should
be placed at least above the eyebrow height. Buddha is
usually greeted with a wai completely above his head.
For monks and significantly older people, hands are
placed at the nose. Two equal ones make each wai at
Westerners should not start with a wai before a Thai
does. Children and service staff (for example, in hotels
and restaurants) are greeted with a nod, not a wai. For
foreigners, it is recommended instead to learn the
greeting phrases sawatdee krup for men and
sawatdee kaa for women. Thais appeal to each other
by first name. The surname is used only in formal
Conversation and gifts
A conversation often starts with personal issues that
aim to establish the status relationship between people.
Questions like "how many children do you have?" or "how
much do you earn?" are therefore common and should not
be seen as impetuous and intrusive.
Speaking and acting dignified is the same as acting
calmly, tolerantly and patiently. Losing mood and
showering is highly inappropriate behavior.
It is not necessary - but appreciated - to hand over
a small gift when visiting a Thai home. Give and receive
an item, especially a gift, with your right hand, never
with your left. It is considered unfair to open a gift
when the donor looks at.
Giving food to the wandering monks is an honor for
the giver, not the monk. It is the donor who is expected
to thank the monk - not the other way around.
Holy and forbidden
Thais have a great deal of respect for the country's
king and his family. The monarch has almost a
"half-holy" status for many residents. Never joke or say
anything negative about the king! It is even punishable
by law to insult the royal house. It is also a criminal
offense to offend any religion, which it may be.
A human's head is considered sacred. Do not touch
anyone else's head. The only exception is parents who
can pat their children on the head. Don't put an object
over someone's head either.
The feet are considered the least sacred part of the
body and should not be lifted in the direction of anyone
else. Never touch a person with their feet. Do not cross
your legs while sitting in a chair, especially not near
an elderly person. Also, do not put your arm over the
backrest on someone else's chair. It is perceived as
offensive. Never place your fingertips higher than the
Images of Buddha are considered sacred: do not touch
them, do not turn their backs, place yourself no higher
than Buddhan. Do not point your feet at a Buddha image.
Never intentionally kill an animal - not even a spider
or insect. All life is sacred according to Buddhism.
At the dining table
Rice is staple and is usually served with spicy
curries of beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, fish, eggs
and fruits. Coconut milk, garlic, coriander, lemongrass
are common ingredients. A dinner often consists of a
variety of small dishes as well as rice. The table drink
in front of others is water that is consumed at the end
of the meal.
Thais eat with fork and spoon. The spoon is held in
the right hand, the fork in the left. Only the spoon
should enter the mouth - the fork is used to bring up
the food on the spoon.
Guests are usually offered food in two rounds and are
encouraged to eat as much as possible. When you have
finished eating cutlery, glasses and more should be
collected on your plate.
It is not uncommon to sit on the floor while eating.
Don't stretch your legs in front of you. Men usually sit
with their legs crossed, while women sit on their knees
with their legs and feet underneath.
Western clothing is now commonplace in most of
Thailand, especially in Bangkok. But traditional
clothing is also used.
In the countryside, both women and men often use wide
straw hats to protect against the hot sun. Foot-side
fabric pieces tied around the waist are common among
both men and women (called sarong in the south,
phasin in the north and phathung in
Thais prefer to wear sandals rather than regular
shoes. The latter are used on more formal occasions.
Always take off your shoes when entering someone's home.
Not infrequently, you should take off your shoes also
when visiting shops and offices.
Thais do not dress in bikinis or shorts, but they
accept that Westerners do it on the beach and in
touristy beach resorts. In other environments, arms and
legs should be covered, especially in the temples.
Traditions and holidays
The Buddhist calendar year begins in mid-April with
song tap, when Buddha figures and statues are
washed and the monks receive extra alms. During the
festival, people walk around and splash water on each
other, and you dance, sing and perform small pieces of
In May, Buddha's birth, enlightenment and road into
nirvana are celebrated with the festival visakha
puja. Among other things, the banyan tree is
ceremoniously watered (it was under a banyan tree that
Buddha according to tradition reached enlightenment). In
July, the three-month Buddhist fast, khao phansa,
begins. At this time it is common for young
boys to start their period as monks. The fasting period
for monks is a time of spiritual retreat as they spend
all the time in the monastery. Thawt Kathin
marks the end of the fast in mid-October. Then the monks
get their typical orange clothes, and in many parts of
the country it is customary for people in a village to
sew the clothes together for the monks. By magha
puja In February, "Buddha's sermon to enlightened
monks" is highlighted, among other things, by light
processions in the country's temple.
Holidays not associated with Buddhism usually affect
the royal house: on April 7, the Chakrid Day is
celebrated in memory of Rama I, who founded the present
Chakrid dynasty, on May 5, the coronation of the former
king Bhumibol is celebrated, the second week of May, the
ancient, royal, ritual plowing is performed. outside the
palace in Bangkok to mark the start of the rice planting
season. On August 12, the widow queen's birthday is
celebrated, on October 23 is the Chulalong Korn Day
in memory of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and the present
King Vajiralongkorn's birthday is celebrated on July 28.
Other important days are the Constitutional Day of
December 10 and New Year's Day.
There are also special local festivals that attract a
lot of people. In Narathiwat in southern Thailand, a
special festival is celebrated in September with
colorful painted fishing boats competing against each
other. In Bang Phli outside Bangkok, the lotus festival
is celebrated by throwing lotus flowers at a Buddha
statue drifting in the river on a small barge. In
November, an elephant parade is held in Surin.
Thousands of hmong are expelled to Laos
Thailand expels about 4,000 members of the minority people hmong to Laos,
where the United Nations and the United States fear they risk persecution and
Thaksin becomes advisor to Cambodia
Relations with Cambodia deteriorate when the neighboring country appoints
Thaksin as economic advisor to the government.
The yellow shirts form a political party
Leaders of the yellow shirts form the New Political Party.
The military is deployed
The government is calling on the military to stop the red-shirt seating
demonstrations. More than 120 people are injured in clashes between police,
military and red shirts.
Red-shirt protests are escalating
The Red Shirts' protests against the Abhisit government continue, including
sit-down demonstrations outside central government buildings and business
districts in Bangkok. They are also storming a building at the tourist resort of
Pattaya where the regional cooperation organization Asean will hold a summit,
which must now be canceled.
The red shirts start demonstrations
The Thaksin-friendly Red Shirts (UDD) are launching street demonstrations
against the government's economic policies.