Culture and traditions of Thailand - ancient customs and rituals

Thailand is a country of exotic Oriental culture, which successfully integrates elements of Indian, Chinese, Khmer and Western civilizations.

Buddhism and Tradition

The daily and social life of Thais is inextricably linked to Buddhism. In Thailand, Buddhism is not only the official state religion. It is the worldview of most people in the country. Buddhists try to adhere to rule-recommendationsThe Buddhist rituals and ceremonies can be seen everywhere. And, therefore, Buddhist rituals and ceremonies can be observed everywhere.

  • Early in the morning, for example, you can find monks collecting alms.
  • Every young man who reaches the age of 20 is traditionally required to seclude himself in a monastery to comprehend the Buddha's teachings.
  • For women, there are volunteer novitiate roles in the monasteries.

The Thais are building temples to their great teacher, their number already numbering in the tens of thousands. But to build a new temple is considered a greater merit than to maintain an old one. The Buddhists provide the monks with everything they need and donate to the temple's needs.

A Buddhist temple is an entire complex of buildings, monuments within a courtyard surrounded by a wall. Such a complex is called a wat. Usually the complex consists of a temple, stupas, pavilions for particularly important Buddha statues, a library, a bell tower, a school, living quarters, rest houses, and other buildings. The richest and most important vats are maintained by the royal family (Phra Thath, mahathat). Others are in the care of the population. People traditionally come here, bringing money, hoping to ensure their good fortune, happiness, safety.


▣ Locals and tourists come to pray at the temple.

In every Thai home, on the most honorable place, you will see an image of Buddha. The ancient manuscripts clearly defined how the image of Buddha should be depicted. Masters were required to embody 32 basic and 80 auxiliary features of the saint in their works.

The meaning of holidays

Secular holiday traditions and ceremonies in Thailand are closely intertwined with religious ones.

  • New Year (Songkhran) is traditionally celebrated for three days from the twelfth to the fourteenth of April. For Thailand, it is the astronomical beginning of spring. The obligatory ritual of celebration is pouring water on each other. On these days there are also rituals in honor of the Buddha.
  • European New Year and Christmas is celebrated as a secular holiday. For many Thais, it is an ordinary day. But in the large resort cities, it is celebrated in a big way, because it is designed for a huge number of European tourists. The king moved the New Year celebrations in 1940, in order to establish closer ties with Western countries.
  •  There is also a third new year that Thais can celebrate - the Buddhist year, which falls in the middle of December.
  • In May, the beginning of the new agricultural season opens with the traditional Royal Plowing Festival. The timing of the festival is determined by the royal Brahman astrologers. The chief Plowman is to plow a small plot of land near the Grand Palace in Bangkok with a sacred gilded plow. Young girls throw grains of rice into the furrows. The same day foretells the amount of annual rainfall and the prosperity of life for the coming period.
  • Also in May, on the full moon, is the birthday of the Buddha, the day of his enlightenment and Parinibbans (death).
  • In September, traditionally, at the end of the rainy season, there is the Oc. Phansa. It also marks the end of the Buddhist fast. Throughout Thailand, Buddhists give the monks new clothes and other items that the brotherhood will need for the new season. The most colorful acts at the festival are the illuminated boat regatta and boat races.
  • Kathin is celebrated in November to coincide with the end of the rice harvest season. On this day it is obligatory to visit the temple, and give gifts monks.
  • At Loy Krathong small rafts with lighted candles are launched down the river. This is a rite of deliverance from all hardships in life.

Thailand has many interesting and unusual for the European man traditions and colorful rituals: pouring water on the hands of monks, the imposition of gold foil on the statues of Buddha, the release of birds and fish in the wild, flying kites, elephant catching festival, talking with the spirit.

Home traditions and rituals

Every foreigner entering the kingdom on vacation, on a business trip or for permanent residence, should get acquainted with the local home traditions, so as not to offend unintentionally hospitable hosts.


▣ Sanprapum, the house for spirits, can be found in front of every house in Thailand.

For Thais, home has always been the most important thing in life. Traditionally, the front door of the house should face east, Thais also sleep with their heads to the east - there is life, there the sun is born. Near the house you will definitely see a pile decorated with colorful ribbons. According to the Thai belief, it invites the spirits of good in the house. Near the offices, stores, houses, you can also see the houses for the spirits. Thais are convinced that this is how they protect their homes, inviting well-being, health and prosperity of business.

Phu Thai Village

▣ The Thais are very hospitable.

When entering the house, everyone removes their shoes, leave yours next to the master's. It is not customary for Thais to step on the threshold, it is considered one of the sacred places in the house. In ancient times, the ashes of a deceased family member were placed under the threshold.

According to local residents, the spirit protects the house from adversity.

When greeting, instead of our handshake, Thais put their hands together and tilt their head to express respect for the person. It is not customary for a child to be greeted in this way. On the other hand, only parents or a person who has reached significant heights in comprehending Buddha's teachings have the right to pat a child on the head. It is believed that at birth, a child's head is inhabited guardian spirit KHWAN. It guides a person through life, keeps him safe, and is responsible for his mental health. To attempt to touch the head is an insult to the spirit, and the gesture can lead to misfortune.


▣ Trying to touch the head is an insult to the spirit.

The Thais have a status for each organ of the body. The head has the highest status, it is the cleanest part of the body. The hands are lower, so their status is lower. In addition, the hands are constantly doing some kind of work, they are not always clean, unlike hair.

Locals keep their hair perfectly clean. This is a demonstration of respect for To the Guardian Spirit and maintaining a high head status.

Many rituals are associated with childbirth and the restoration of the young mother. For example, the ritual "yu-fiThe "sauna" is a condition that a new mother must stay in a sauna for half a month. Today, in urban apartments, Thais adapt bathrooms for this purpose. Here in vats water with herbs is boiled and for two or four hours a woman undergoes a recreational procedure.

Traditional Thai clothing

Today, especially in the cities, Thais prefer to wear European clothes, and national clothes only on special occasions. Thai national costumes are a combination of silk and cotton fabric in bright colors. Men wear loose pants and shirts, called "farmer's shirt." Until the middle of the 20th century, men and women wore panung - A piece of cloth wrapped around the waist, passed between the legs, and fastened at the back of the belt. The upper part of men's costume was in the form of a jacket, while women tied a shawl or scarf on the chest. One or both shoulders were open.

Thai clothing

▣ The national women's clothing of Thailand.

Traditional women's clothing today is a tight skirt (pasin) and a blouse. The skirt consists of three parts. The upper part looks like a wide belt on the belly, the lower part is always characterized by intricate patterns. The most often used two or three different fabrics.

Literary Heritage

Thailand's literary culture was influenced by ancient Indian literature. The most famous Thai literary monument is Ramakiyan. This is a version of the Indian epic The Ramayana. The Thai version has a happier ending.

Ramakian epic

▣ A fragment of the Thai epic Ramakiyan.

The first original work of Thai culture "Right. Apaimani" (1835), written by the national poet of Thailand Synthon Pu. Kings Rama V and Rama VI were also literati, but they wrote scientific and philosophical the relationship between Oriental and Occidental civilizations. In the twentieth century, fiction was published, but it did not leave a serious mark in literature. Among modern authors one can single out Kamsinga Srinoka and Pyra Sudham.

Performing Arts of Thailand

Thai theater tradition requires that every movement on stage, the slightest turn of the head, every pose convey certain information.

Theater in Thailand

▣ Theater in Thailand.

Theater in Thailand is represented by different styles:

  • At the theater. lakhon More women than men are employed. The main thing here is gestures and makeup. Parallel to the dramatic plot (love legends), the viewer can enjoy the exquisite skills of the dancers performing folk dances.
  • Submissions nanga, shadow puppet theater, were once very popular. Today in the southern provinces you can visit puppet and shadow puppet theaters.
  • Khon - Thai classical pantomime theater (ballet), where scenes from the Ramakyans. The theater is played by men in masks, who, to the music of classical Thai orchestra, express the world of human feelings with their movements and facial expressions.
  • Slaves - small ballet performances between acts of dramatic productions.
  • Leake - accompanies temple and village festivals. It includes elements of a buffoonery and melodrama. The characters of the performance compete in ingenuity, amusing the audience.

In modern Thai theater, various stage elements of different theatrical genres have intermingled and can be seen in any theatrical act. Nowadays, plays by modern Western authors are also performed on the stages of theaters.

Traditional music

Traditional music culture in Thailand is similar to that of China, but has its own stylistic characteristics in different regions of the country. You can hear classical Thai music at local festivals, at the National Theater or in restaurants catering to tourists.

musical instruments of Thailand

▣ National Thai Instruments.

And contemporary Thai music is a mixture of local chanson, romances, and bard songs. The most popular musical styles today are Thung, Mo Lam, Kantrym, Malay, Sarama.


Tattoos are one of the traditions of Thailand. There are several styles of tattoos in the country. A tattoo for a Thai is a talisman, a magical image that brings good luck, health, and protects against negative influences.


▣ In Thailand, tattoos are an ancient and developed art.

It was in Thailand that they first began to put various tattoos on the skin, in the hope that their symbols ward off evil spirits. Monks could apply tattoos right in the monasteries, and speak them according to the customs.

Thai boxing

The country cultivates a variety of sports, both Western and traditional Thai. The most popular of these is Thai boxing. Thai athletes occupy a leading world position in this sport.

Thai boxing

▣ Thai boxing or Muay Thai is a martial art of Thailand.

The in-demand species are also: taekwondo, weightlifting, tennis, and badminton. Healthy lifestyles are encouraged in the country. In the mornings you can see people doing yoga in the parks.

Thai massage

The art of Thai massage is a special trend that emphasizes pressure points. It was formed under the influence of the ancient cultures of India and China. The modern system of wellness was created through practice and observation of the nature of the human body.

Thai massage

▣ Thai massage originated under the influence of Chinese and Indian cultures.

There are two main types of massage: general (closer contact) and royal, when the masseur practically does not touch the patient, and touches him only with the working surface of the hands. The popularity of Thai massage is evidenced by the huge number of schools opened around the world.

The culture of Thailand is amazing and unique. And you can diversify your holiday by discovering its unique secrets.

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