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Assignment

In
English

Name: Louise Danielle S. Tabasa


Grade: 8 Section: POE
Teacher: Mrs. Rowena D.
Decierdo
Traditions
Culture
and Values
in
Thailand
Thailand
Thailand is a Southeast Asian Capital: Bangkok
country. It's known for tropical Dialing code: +66
beaches, opulent royal palaces,
Currency: Thai baht
ancient ruins and ornate temples
displaying figures of Buddha. In
King: Bhumibol Adulyadej
Bangkok, the capital, an Official language: Thai
ultramodern cityscape rises next
to quiet canalside communities
and the iconic temples of Wat
Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald
Buddha Temple (Wat Phra
Kaew). Nearby beach resorts
include bustling Pattaya and
fashionable Hua Hin.
Tradition
s
Of
Thailand
Thai Traditions of Praying for Rain
Thailand is an agricultural
country. Most Thai people
in the rural areas grow
crops especially rice for a
living. Their fate inevitably
depends on the falling of
A cat in a thinly woven bamboo basket is
carried in a procession to pray for rain.
rain that will give life and
freshness to their crops.
Due to the climate of the
The farmers will greatly
north, northeast and the
central regions of suffer if there is drought.
Thailand, which is dry in So they turn to have faith
the hot and the cool in beliefs that can alleviate
seasons, ceremonies of their worry, prolong their
praying for rainfall are hope and give inspiration
held in these regions. to them. That is why there
Stories and legends are various kinds of
about three such
ceremonies of praying for
important ceremonies,
plenty of rainfall, different
viz. the Tradition of Cat
Procession, the Rocket in forms from region to
Festival and the Phi Ta region.
Khon Festival
The Tradition of Cat Procession
The central region has the ceremony
of parading a female cat to pray for
rain. According to an ancient belief,
the cries of a female cat could draw a
rainfall. So the heart of the ceremony
is when people throw water at the cat
to make it cry a lot. In preparing for
this tradition, a selected beautiful
female cat is put into a thinly woven
It is believed that if any house bamboo basket. The colourfully
owner whose house the parade dressed farmers in a village will form
passes by fails to throw water at
a procession to parade the cat around
the cat, the cat will get angry and
the village. When walking, they will
instead of calling rain for the
joyfully dance and sing a song with
farmers will use magic powers to
the lyrics asking for a rainfall enough
prolong the drought. The
for feeding their crops. The procession
ceremony ends after the
will pass from one house to another.
procession has passed every
Villagers staying in their houses when
house in the village. "Rain is falling. Rain is falling. A lot of
hearing therice
rainfall. Our approaching
fields and the procession
grass are all
green now.
Similarly to the central region, the northern people rely on the cat in asking for a
rainfall. The cat is released into an enclosed area around which are placed
earthen dolls of elephants, horses, cows, buffaloes, frogs, bull frogs, etc. Also
included are sacrificial food and drinks and flowers. Villagers are required to
observe either the Five or Eight Buddhist Precepts for three days beforehand.
Then a number of Buddhist monks are invited to chant sutras while the villagers
pray for plenty of rainfall.
The Rocket Festival
As to the northeastern people, they have a unique festival
called ngan bun bangfai or the Rocket Festival. It is held at
the beginning of the rainy season as an annual plea to god
for plenty of rainfall. A legend has it that once a god called
Phaya Thaen, who was the most powerful in heaven, and
was in charge of the regulation of rainfall in the world, was
angry with the animals on earth. To retaliate, he stopped
the rain completely, causing distress to all creatures.
Greatly troubled, the animals made war with Phaya Thaen
A beautifully decorated rocket twice, but were defeated on both occasions.

Later, Phaya Khankhak, a former incarnation of


the Buddha, mobilized those animals to fight
against Phaya Thaen and they won in the end.
As a result, Phya Thaen had to promise that if
during the sixth lunar month (roughly
corresponding to May) each year, bamboo
rockets were launched on earth, he would not fail
to make the rain fall.

This year the Rocket Festival is scheduled to be held from 12


to 13 May in Yasothon Province. Other northeastern provinces
Visitors will find the festival
also feature the Rocket Festival but not of the same grand
scale as Yasothon Province.
spectacular because of the colourful
rocket processions, a rocket contest,
a beauty contest and folk
entertainments.

The Phi Ta Khon Festival


Another festival of the northeast is the Phi
Ta Khon Festival. It is an old tradition
taking place in Dan Sai County, Loei
Province, yearly. The festival is held as
part of Bun Phra Wet and Bun Bang Fai,
which are major festivals of the province.
Bun Phra Wet is a religious ceremony in
which people listen to the recitation of
scriptures to gain merit. Bun Bang Fai is
the launching of bamboo rockets to pray
for rain. This year the Phi Ta Khon Festival
will take place from 23 to 24 June.

The legend of the festival is derived from


an episode in the Wetsandon Jataka
recounting the journey home of Prince
Wetsandon (the last former life of the Lord
Buddha) and his wife Matsi after years of
exile in the forest. The townspeople then
celebrating his return were so delightful
that the spirits emerged to join them.

The event lasts for three days featuring Buddhistic


rituals, traditional ceremonies and fun-filled
activities. Phi Ta Khon festival highlights the eye-
appealing colourful parade of Phi Ta Khon along
with local performances. Most Phi Ta Khon carry
wooden weapons in the shape of an oversized
penis with a splash of red paint on the tip and
played with the audience, who are amused by their
antics. The use of the phalluses is not considered
rude. Indeed, they are a token of power and
fertility. Natives believe that these things will satisfy
Phaya Thaen, a most revered deity of the
northeastern region who is believed to control the
well-being of villagers.
Lastly, it should be added that the tradition of Cat
Procession is a local tradition, not a fun fair. And at
present, it is rarely held except when there is the most
severe drought situation. So, if you would like to learn
something from these events, you can join the Rocket
Festival or the Phi Ta Khon Festival. Both are held
every year. Apart from having an opportunity to have
a great fun, you will also get to know the northeastern
people's ways of living.

End

Culture of Thailand
Much of Thailands culture comes from the ethnic Thai
people. One of the most important influences on Thai
culture has been Buddhism. Many of the traditions and
beliefs of the people in Thailand stem directly from
Buddhist principles. Hinduism has also made important
contributions to Thai culture, and the close links between
Thailand and India can be seen in art, literature, and in
many Thai customs. The cultures of nearby Laos,
Cambodia, Myanmar, and China have also played an
important role in forming the traditions of Thailand, as have
Of Thailands nearly 70 million indigenous belief systems such as Animism.
people, roughly two thirds are from The remaining third of the population is made up primarily
Thai ethnic groups. Although the of Chinese, as well as various minorities including
ethnic Thai people can be divided Vietnamese, Khmer, Hmong, and Mein. Even among these
into dozens of different subgroups, diverse ethnic groups, the Thai language is widely spoken
their traditions, languages, and and understood, and the Thai script is often used in place
of traditional writing styles.
cultures differ only slightly. This
leads to a population with a strong
Since the 1950s, Thailands government has made efforts
sense of shared traditions and
to preserve and strengthen the sense of national culture
cultural identity.
and national identity. During the 1980s and 1990s,
however, Thailand saw a resurgence in local culture and
traditions. Although there is still a strong national identity,
local food, dances, music, celebrations, and beliefs have
begun to play a more important role in Thai life.
Values in Thailand
Thai culture is deeply influenced by religion. With
around 95% of the country being Theraveda Buddhist,
the belief system and values of Buddhism play a huge
role in day-to-day life. Throughout the country, the most
important values that Thai people hold to are respect,
self-control, and a non-confrontational attitude. Losing
face by showing anger or by telling a lie is a source of
great shame for Thai people.

In general, displays of emotion in public


Respect for elders and for those in higher social
are viewed in a very negative light. No
positions is also important. Hierarchies of social status
matter how frustrated or upset a person
characterize nearly every interaction. Children are
might feel, he or she will always strive to
expected to respect their parents and teachers. The
maintain a positive and friendly attitude,
young must show deference to the elderly. Those with
a sense of humor, and a smile.
highly prestigious positions in society, such as doctors,
Family is central to Thai life. Although important public figures, and monks are almost revered.
many newly-married couples will set up
their own households, it is not lthough Thailands family life and society has been
uncommon for extended family to live traditionally male-dominated, women are granted
with them. Often, grandparents, cousins, considerable respect. Recent laws and legislation have
aunts, and uncles will all live in the same allowed women more freedom to move out of traditional
household and help to raise children and roles and into professions such as politics, medicine,
provide for the family. Children are and business. Respect and equal rights for women has,
expected to show great respect for their in recent decades, become an important part of
parents, and they maintain close ties, Thailands law and values.
even well into adulthood.

Another concept that is very important in Thai culture is sanuk. Sanuk is a


wide-reaching idea that embodies the playfulness and sense of humor that is
so central to life in Thailand. It could refer to a spontaneous and joyful
meeting with someone on the street, or a humorous pun made at just the right
moment. The sense of humor and joie de vivre captured in sanuk is central to
the Thai way of life.

Landmarks in Thailand
Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the


heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been
the official residence of the Kings of Siam since
1782

1.
Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist


temple in Thailand. The Emerald Buddha housed in the
temple is a potent religio-political symbol and the palladium of
Thai society.

2.
Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai National Park covers more than 2,000 square kilometers of
forest and grassland in central Thailand. More than 50 km of hiking
and biking trails wind through the long-standing nature preserve,
and its many waterfalls include 150m-tall Haew Narok and 20m-tall
Haew Suwat, immortalized in the Danny Boyle film 'The Beach.' The

3. park also shelters diverse wildlife such as bears, gibbons, elephants


and hornbills.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan or Wat Arun


is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok Yai district of Bangkok,

4.
Thailand, on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a Theravada wat in Chiang Mai


Province, Thailand. The temple is often referred to as "Doi
Suthep" although this is actually the name of the mountain
where it's located. It is a sacred site to many Thai people.

5.

Jim Thompson House


The Jim Thompson House is now a museum in Bangkok. It
is a complex of various old Thai structures that the American
businessman Jim Thompson collected from all parts of

6. Thailand in the 1950s and 1960s.

Golden Buddah

The Golden Buddha, officially titled Phra Phuttha Maha Suwana


Patimakon, is a gold statue, with a weight of 5.5 tons. It is located

7. in the temple of Wat Traimit, Bangkok, Thailand