Thailand
Thailand
Culture
31-07-2022 4.185 Views
POPULATION :

Thailand is composed of a mosaic of peoples, including the Thais who are the main ethnic group. There are no fewer than twenty different ethnic groups from China, Cambodia and Myanmar, such as the Karen, Lahu, Shan... This contributes to making Thailand a culturally rich and diverse country.

The Thai people are a warm and welcoming people, hence their nickname, “the land of smiles”. As far as leisure is concerned, the Thai people’s policy is to have fun first and foremost. It can range from a masked drama dance (Khon), to a traditional music orchestra, to a Thai boxing match, the pleasure is always to have fun.

RELIGION :

The life of Thai people is shaped by Buddhism: more than 95% of the population is Buddhist! This explains the incredible number of temples and pagodas in Thailand. Thai Buddhism is a bit special, it comes from a current in southern Sri Lanka (Theravada); Thais were also influenced by Hinduism. In southern Thailand, there are also Thai Muslims.

The Buddhist temple plays an essential role in the life of Thais, especially in the countryside where the temple can educate the youngest, treat the sick, learn the news of the outside world, or even find a job.

SOME IMPORTANT FESTIVITIES :

Songkran Festival - New Year: this is the beginning of summer in Thailand, it is the most anticipated festival of the year. The important ritual of the celebration is to throw water on other passers-by on the street, using water guns, pipes, barrels ... The water that is thrown out contains water used to cleanse the Buddhas; perfumed water is also sprinkled on the hands of the older ones. In addition to throwing water, we also throw powder.

The Loy Krathong festival is also an important celebration for Thai. It takes place on the twelfth day of the lunar calendar, usually in November. The Krathong is a small traditional raft and Loy means floating. Thus the Loy Krathong designates a small raft, composed of flowers, incense, candles, and a piece of banana tree, which is deposited in the water, in order to forget its misfortunes, its worries and its melancholies.

CUSTOMS :

  • In Thailand, it is not common for men and women to show their affection for each other in public. Thus, it is relatively rare to see couples kissing or holding hands in the street.
  • It is also customary to take off your shoes when you enter a house or a temple, and to entry without laying your foot first in.
  • In temples, speak with a low voice and avoid touching objects of worship (statuettes of geniuses and Buddhas). Wear clothing covering shoulders and legs.
  • Many Thai customs are linked to the position of the monks in society. They must not come into physical contact with a woman. To make offerings, they place their gifts directly in their bowl, at their feet or on a cloth placed on a table or on the floor. In the temples, the monks will sit on the highest platform.
  • One of the Thai customs is the «Waï», gesture of greeting very similar to the Namaste of the Indians. Used for greeting, farewell, it appears in different styles that all have the same meaning: normally a Thai makes a «reverence» with his hands joined as a gesture of prayer.
  • It is strongly advised not to touch the head of a Thai. In Europe, touching someone’s head can be seen as a friendly gesture, but it is not at all the case in Thailand, it is for them a gesture that is badly perceived. Indeed, the Thais believe that the head is sacred since it is the seat of the soul. Conversely, the feet are unclean.
  • When eating, never plant the chopsticks in a bowl filled with rice. It is indeed a ritual that is done for the dead.
THE FOOD :

Thai cuisine, although similar in some ways to that of its Chinese, Indian and Burmese neighbours, is distinguished by original flavours and ingredients, such as curry, mint, lemongrass, coriander and red basil. It is a growing success abroad! For a Western palate, this cuisine is very spicy.

Thai cuisine mixes many flavors:

  • The sweet: fruit, sugar.
  • Spicy: the use of chilli is very common in Thai cuisine.
  • Sour: vinegar, lemons, tamarins.
  • Salty: soy sauce, fish sauce.

Thai cuisine is not uniform across the country. Southern dishes, such as yellow curry and kidney and fish curry, are the most popular. In the central plains, the food is sweeter, like chicken stir-fry with basil leaves. In the north, one finds a great influence of Burmese cuisine, such as in the famous soup curry and noodles, the kaoh soi. As for the northeast, its cuisine is derived from Laotian cuisine and, although originally considered as a country cuisine, it is gaining in popularity and some delicacies, such as papaya salad, som tam, are known and appreciated beyond its borders.

Here are some typical Thai dishes:

Pad Thai: this dish is made of wok-fried noodles with eggs, soy, peanuts, shrimp, fish sauce and lime sauce. This dish is one of the most famous out of Thailand, and it is one of the cheapest dishes sold on the street.

Tom yam (or tom yum): sweet and sour soup with pork, chicken or fish. This dish consists of broth, coconut milk, lime, ginger, galanga and chillies. It is a classic of Thai gastronomy and is also found in Laos. This soup is rather spicy because of the chili pepper.

Kaeng khiao wan: green curry. Green curry consists of coconut milk, chicken, garlic and lime juice, as well as green curry paste. It is usually eaten with rice.

Som tam: shredded green papaya salad, hot peppers, garlic, tomatoes, bean kilometer, lime juice, fish sauce and plara (Isan fermented fish sauce), sugar, shrimp paste, possibly brined crab in some areas.

MANDARIN ROAD VOYAGES
NEWSLETTER
Be informed in advance of all our travel offers
© MANDARINROAD.COM