Khantoke Dinner at Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center
This guide brings an understanding to Thai culture and traditions. be difficult for someone who only studied the Central Thai dialect to understand. .. When going out on a date, it's expected that the man pay for everything. The culture of Thailand has evolved greatly over time, from its relative isolation during the Present day Thai civic culture defines Thailand as the land of Central Thais (Siamese), with a single religion, .. or after being married, and might consult a monk for astrological advice in setting an auspicious date for the wedding. Date: Sep 16, @ 11AM; Time: Sep 16, @ 11AM - Sep 16, @ 05PM; Cost: Free; Site Sponsor: Thai Community Arts and Cultural Center.
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It has its origin in Burmese culture but was adopted by the Shan people. In the last prince of Chiang Mai instructed his court dance instructors to add some polish to it.
The Magic Fowls Dance: These wild fowls are part of a spell cast by a powerful sorcerer. Its purpose was to lure the hero of the play, Phra law, to stray off his hunting course toward love and death. The dance was choreographed by Jao Dara Rasmi of Chiang mai in the year The Flame Worshiping Yogis: The dance movements were modified from characteristic postures of flame worshiping yogis. It rejoices in the presentation of a white elephant to him.
The costumes are in the style of the king. It was performed by ancient Thai Lue ancestors as they migrated away from the wars of the Xishuangbanna region of Yunnan Province, China. Mahn Mui Chiangta Dance: This is a mixture of a Burmese court dance and a Thai dance. Chao Dara Rasmi commissioned a Burmese dance instructor and her court dance instructors to choreograph the the dance over a period from to The costumes are in the style of Burmese court ladies during the reign of king Thi-baw, the last king of Burma.
It is based on the dance of the Shan or Tai as they call themselves.
During the Buddhist component of the wedding service, the couple first bow before the image of the Buddha. They then recite certain basic Buddhist prayers or chants typically including taking the Three Refuges and the Five Preceptsand light incense and candles before the image.
The parents of the couple may then be called upon to "connect" them, by placing upon the heads of the bride and groom twin loops of string or thread that link the couple together. The couple may then make offerings of food, flowers, and medicine to the monks present.
Cash gifts usually placed in an envelope may also be presented to the temple at this time. The monks may then unwind a small length of thread that is held between the hands of the assembled monks. They begin a series of recitations of Pali scriptures intended to bring merit and blessings to the new couple. The string terminates with the lead monk, who may connect it to a container of water that will be "sanctified" for the ceremony.
Merit is said to travel through the string and be conveyed to the water. A similar arrangement is used to transfer merit to the dead at a funeral, further evidence of the weakening of the taboo on mixing funerary imagery and trappings with marriage ceremonies. Blessed water may be mixed with wax drippings from a candle lit before the Buddha image and other unguents and herbs to create a paste that is then applied to the foreheads of the bride and groom to create a small dot, similar to the marking made with red ochre on Hindu devotees.
The bride's mark is created with the butt end of the candle rather than the monk's thumb, in keeping with the Vinaya prohibition against touching women. The highest-ranking monk present may elect to say a few words to the couple, offering advice or encouragement. The couple may then make offerings of food to the monks, at which point the Buddhist portion of the ceremony is concluded.
The Thai dowry system is known as the sin sot Thai: It roughly translates to "bride price". Bride prices of 50, tobaht have been documented, but bride prices can sometimes run into the tens of millions of baht. Whether the practice of sin sot is a tradition or a scam has been debated by critics. One observed, "All that talk of face and argument for cherished tradition?
You should just take a little bit at a time from the center dishes—2 or 3 spoons at most. Scooping up half the food from a center dish and plopping it all on your plate would appear rude. Thais mainly eat with a spoon and fork.
The spoon is held in your right or dominant hand and is used to carry food to your mouth. The fork is held in the other hand and simply serves to help you push food onto the spoon.
Ultimate Guide to Thai Culture for Newbies
Chopsticks are generally only used when eating noodle soups. Drinking The main alcoholic drinks consumed in Thailand are beer, whiskey, and rice whiskey.
The domestic market is dominated by the mass-produced beer brands Singha and Chang. Scottish whiskey brands such as Johnny Walker and Pipers are very popular. Local rice whiskey is called lao khao. When drinking beer at a restaurant, the staff will keep coming around to top up your glass from the opened bottle.
At many places, girls wearing skimpy uniforms sponsored by one of the big beer companies will be doing this task. They will also keep adding ice cubes to your glass unless you tell them otherwise. For Thai drinkers, having a cold beer is more important than having a beer not watered down by ice cubes. A decent selection of wine is available from certain supermarkets and liquor stores, although be warned that wine is taxed heavily, resulting in high prices.
Legally, alcoholic beverages can only be sold between the hours of 11am-2pm and 5pm-midnight. Supposedly, the prohibition of alcohol sales between pm was put in place to limit children from accessing alcohol during the hours directly following the end of the school day.
One would think simply enforcing the minimum age requirement to buy alcohol would be more effective. In any case, you can forget about picking up some beer or wine to enjoy with dinner when doing afternoon shopping at the supermarket. Alcohol sales are also prohibited on certain Buddhist holidays during the year. In addition to this, alcohol is also banned on election days. Drugs Despite their popularity with the backpacker crowd, marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms are illegal in Thailand.
Undercover police have been known to make arrests at the famous full moon party on Koh Phangan. There have also been rare occasions where police will clear out an entire nightclub and subject patrons to drug tests. Those showing traces of marijuana in their urine could be arrested—the fact that they may have simply used the substance legally in another country within the past month or so is irrelevant.
The largest drug problem in Thailand by far is addiction to methamphetamine pills yaa baa. These days, the majority of yaa baa pills in Thailand are smuggled into the country from Myanmar, and young club-goers have replaced truck drivers as the primary consumers.
Coffee shops Coffee in Thailand is generally quite good and relatively inexpensive. Thai style iced coffee can be quite tasty, but it also packs a lot of calories due to the addition of both sweetened condensed milk and syrup. Getting a seat in a coffee shop can sometimes be difficult in areas with many students.
Students sometimes claim tables for long periods of time by leaving their books and stuff there—sometimes even leaving the coffee shop to eat lunch and come back an hour later. If you have a palette for good quality coffee, specialty coffee culture has been been on a steep rise recent years, especially in Chiang Mai. This free specialty coffee shop map shows the best locations throughout Thailand and is frequently updated with the latest cafes that open.
Gambling Casinos and most forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand, including playing cards with friends for money. Gambling on card games is still quite common in Thai villages, though, and a good number of people have put their family in hopeless debt because of it.
The only legal form of gambling in Thailand is the state lottery, which holds drawings twice a month, usually on the 1st and 16th. Lottery tickets consist of a 6 digit number, and they are all printed out ahead of time.
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Individual vendors sell lottery tickets in random locations such as shopping malls, roadsides and bus depots. The tickets sell for 80 baht, but are actually a pair of 40 baht tickets. Matching the grand prize with an 80 baht ticket would give you 6 million baht. A lot of people choose to play the underground lottery instead of the official one.
To try to discourage illegal gambling, the state lottery added prizes for matching 2 and 3 numbers a few years back, but the underground lottery persists due to its higher payout. Tipping Thailand is generally not a tipping culture. Many people just leave the coins that come back with the change while picking up any bills.
No tip is needed for taxis and hotels, although you may chose to round up the taxi fare just to make things easy. The one area where tipping is more common is for a personal service such as from a massage therapist or hair stylist. Bargaining In a regular market, a little bit of bargaining can be expected, but the difference in price will not be much. It is more of a way to make the interaction friendly.
This is where one price is charged to Thai people for a product or service, while a higher price is charged to foreigners. You will most often encounter this in admission fees. Thai national parks, for example, often charge baht admission for foreigners but only 40 baht for Thais. Sometimes Thai citizens get in for free at a place that charges admission to foreigners, as is the case at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
In the case of national parks, foreign residents who work and pay taxes in Thailand reason that they should be allowed in at the same price as locals. The deceptive part comes into play when the signboard displaying prices lists foreigner prices in English and hides the Thai prices by writing them in Thai, including the use of Thai numerals.
The argument for dual pricing is usually that foreigners have more money to spend. This may be true in general, but there are plenty of Thais driving luxury cars to national parks and only being asked for the low local fee. You can occasionally get the Thai price somewhere by showing your Thai driving license or work permit, but this is becoming increasingly rare. Overall, this is just one aspect of Thailand that you have to get used to if you live here.
Thai Dating and marriage The modern Western style of dating has become common in Thailand, but there is a large segment of society that still holds on to a more conservative ideal of a woman having just one partner for life.
When dating someone new, it is completely normal for the woman to have a friend tag along for the first couple dates until she is comfortable going alone with the man.
Twenty years ago it would be unusual to see a couple holding hands in public. Not realizing this can be a source of tension in the relationship. If a women takes a foreign man to meet her family, and then the man shows no interest in marrying or worse yet breaks up with her afterwards she will lose face big time.
Weddings in Thai culture traditionally involve the groom giving a monetary gift to the brides family. The payment, called sin sod, is given in cash arranged on an offering tray during the wedding ceremony. The amount of the sin sod can vary widely, but needs to be agreed upon before the wedding can take place. For the daughter of a working class family, the parents might expect something in the neighborhood ofbaht.
There is no set-in-stone rule for sin sod. Other times, the money is used for show during the wedding ceremony and then partially or fully returned to the young couple afterwards. And then in other cases, the in-laws will ask for a large sin sod and quickly spend it all on whiskey and a new TV, motorcycle, or pickup truck for themselves.
Disagreements over sin sod can sour a Thai-foreigner marriage before it even gets a chance to blossom. The foreigner often feels uncomfortable with what he perceives as buying his wife off her parents. Sometimes the sin sod is just for show and promptly returned, but this is by no means the case all the time. Some foreign son-in-laws really do get played for the fool and get pressured into paying a sin sod far higher than market value by greedy Thai parents.
Thai Entertainment Music Thailand has one major recording label that pumps out nearly all of the pop music. As you might expect with this arrangement, most of the pop music is fairly unoriginal and uninspiring.
Nevertheless, there are lots of popular artists, and Thais especially enjoy singing along to karaoke versions of the videos. Singing along to Thai pop music can be a good way to improve your Thai language skills.
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American pop music is more popular for playing as background music at cafes, restaurants, and shopping malls. At restaurants that feature live music, the bands play mostly American pop tunes. Movies Both Thai and Hollywood movies are popular. Some theaters will play two versions of foreign movies—one has the original soundtrack and Thai subtitles, and the other version will be dubbed into Thai.
Make sure you get the one you want when buying a ticket. At the cinema, all of the seats are reserved, and there are different prices for different sections.
The seats closest to the screen are the cheapest. Some theaters will have VIP sofa seats in the back row. At the time of purchasing the tickets, you select your seats from a computer screen. It makes it nice to know exactly where your seat is, especially if you stumble into the theater after the lights have already been turned down.
Movies always start at least 20 minutes later than the listed show time. In addition, the royal anthem is played before each show begins, for which the audience must stand up. Some locally produced Thai movies can be quite good. Comedies, romantic comedies, and ghost movies seem to be the most popular genres. TV Thai television can be difficult to watch for those who value their sanity. The two most popular types of programs are serial dramas lakhon and comedy variety shows.
TV dramas run in blocks, airing several days a week for a few weeks until the story ends. Lakhon tend to follow predictable storylines. There will be a lead male character, a lead female character, and an evil, jealous female character who tries to get in the way of true love. TV dramas are full of shouting, bad acting, and violence towards women—including rape.
The lead female character has to appear pure and virginal, and she has to feign disinterest in the lead male character. If you get involved with a Thai significant other who is addicted to watching lakhon, you have my deepest sympathy.
Comedy shows are unbearable to watch for a completely different reason. Censorship on Thai TV can be a bit ridiculous. Many people—including foreigners—train at Muay Thai gyms purely for the physical fitness and conditioning benefits.
If your goal is to get a six-pack, training in Muay Thai would be a good way to start. A typical night at a boxing stadium might have half a dozen fights on the bill.
English Premier League teams have the largest following. The ball is made from woven rattan and is kicked back and forth over a net.
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Thai Festivals and Holidays Songkran The biggest and most important festival of the year is Songkran. The official holiday lasts 3 days from Aprilbut in practice many people take a full week off from work for what is often called Thai New Year. Songkran is celebrated by several countries in the region, and has origins in Hindu astrology. Songkran is a time for Thai people to visit their hometown, pay respect to their elders, and make merit at temples.