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© Robin Ian Grant 2009

Life Style THAILAND

 


 
 
 

Tel: (English) ++66 (0)806 707 036)
 

 

     Marriage and Family 

 
 
 
 

Thai families are close, and several generations may live in the same household. The oldest male is customarily the patriarch of the family. Members of the family (even adults) are traditionally expected to abide by the advice of their elders although this is becoming less true of late. Families usually have two, three or more children. When the elderly live with their married children, they often look after the grandchildren. A family’s youngest daughter will often look after and stay in the parents’ home. In return, she and her husband may care of the parents in their old age. In some cases all the children leave home to work, they almost always send money home to the parents even when married. Children will very often give one or more  of their own children to their parents to take care of when they are working. They nearly always send a fair proportion of their income back home as a means of support to the parents and their children.


 
 
 
 
 

A typical Thai girl, similar to that of which many Ex pats settle down with!!
 
 
 
 
 

In Thailand, young females have traditionally led a more sheltered life than young males and have been married off at a young age, as young as fourteen is still common in rural areas. Parents are still very much a part of the marriage process and will almost always make the final decision of whether the marrige takes place or not. A dowery is almost always paid to the brides family and this can be quite large if the Girl is young and pretty, has a good education, or has rich parents. Marriage  for the middle class and rich is discouraged until one’s education is complete.

According to tradition, if a young man wishes to marry, he must first become well acquainted with the entire family of his intended wife and make himself agreeable to them. He then asks his own parents to make his wishes known to the brides parents. If both families agree on the marriage, a wedding date is set. The grooms Father traditionally pays a dowery to the bride’s parents as compensation for having raised her. Some parents later return the items or cash to the couple as a wedding gift.

Pink is the traditional colour for bridal gowns. Grooms wear either a European-style suit or a high-necked jacket (sua phrarachathan) and trousers. Newly-weds in rural areas often live with the bride’s parents after marriage until they have a child after which they leave home, go to work and leave the child with the Grandparents
 

 


After polygamy was made illegal in 1935, many men openly kept mistresses, but the practice is much less common today.

Diet and Eating

 

Rice (plain in southern and central regions; glutinous in the north) is the staple main ingredient to most dishes, it is sometimes substituted by noodles. It is usually served with very spicy dishes that consist of meat, vegetables, fish, eggs, or fruit. Curries and pepper sauces are popular. Typical meats include beef, chicken and pork. Thailand boasts a variety of tropical fruit year-round. Restaurants in Bangkok major cities and resorts serve a range of international cuisine which is also available in large shopping centers or Malls.

Thais use forks and spoons at the table. They hold the spoon in the right hand and the fork in the left, pushing food on to the spoon with the fork. Knives are usually not necessary because foods are served in bite-size pieces. In northern areas, people eat a steamed, sticky (glutinous) rice with their fingers. Chopsticks are used when eating noodle dishes and in ethnic Chinese homes. Guests usually receive a second helping of food and are encouraged to eat as much as they can. Diners choose small portions from various dishes at the centre of the table to eat with rice. Bones and other such items are placed on the plate. Water, the standard mealtime drink, is drunk at the end of (not during) the meal. When one has finished eating, utensils are placed together on the plate.

Socializing

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Handshakes are widely used between Thais and foreigners in official and business circles but the traditional Thai greeting is the Wai. How the Wai is performed depends on the relationship and status of the people concerned. There are many variations and this again depends on the status of the parties. Generally, it is done by placing the palms of the hands together, with fingers extended at chest level, and bowing slightly; women curtsy. The younger person greets first, and the more senior person responds with a wai in a lower position. The higher one’s hands are placed, the more respect is being shown. Bows and curtsies are also more pronounced to show greater respect. The fingertips go above the level of the eyebrows only to show reverence for Buddha or to greet royalty. For other honoured persons, the fingertips may reach to between the eyebrows, with the thumb tip touching the tip of the nose. A Wai is always returned, unless there is a significant difference in social status or age between the two people, in which case the senior does not return the wai. For example, an adult does not exchange a wai with a small child. Buddhist monks never return a wai. The gesture can mean not only “Hello” but also “Thank you”, “Good-bye”, and “I’m sorry”.

Thais address each other by their given names, preceded by Khun (for example, Khun Sariya), and reserve family names for formal occasions. In formal situations, foreigners may address Thais by using “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, or “Miss” with the given or family names.

Men and women generally do not touch or show affection in public. However, good friends of the same sex sometimes hold hands. Among the younger generation, it is becoming more common for members of the opposite sex to hold hands.

When visiting, the person of highest social rank or age is treated with the greatest respect. In all cases, how one sits, walks, or otherwise interacts with others depends on the status of each person present. It is customary to remove one’s shoes when entering a Buddhist temple or private home. Visitors should avoid stepping on the doorstep because of the traditional belief that a soul resides in the doorstep of a temple (wat). It is not necessary to take gifts when visiting, but it is not uncommon for guests on extended stays to present their hosts with a gift of appreciation.

In the home, people commonly sit on the floor, but do not stretch their feet out in front of them. Women generally tuck their legs to the side and behind them, and men sit cross-legged. Men might also sit with their legs tucked to the side to show special respect to the hosts. Guests may offer compliments on the home or children, but should avoid excessive admiration of any specific object to spare the host embarrassment.

 

Recreation


Among the most popular sports are soccer, table tennis, badminton, basketball, and volleyball. Traditional sports include takro (a game of skill involving keeping a wicker ball in the air without using the hands) and martial arts. As in many parts of south east Asia people enjoy movies and television. Kite-flying is a popular activity, and many enjoy watching Thai chess, played without a queen and according to its own rules. Muy Thai Kick boxing is also a major sport and is betted on heavily.

 

Holidays and Celebrations

 
 

Although the government uses the Western calendar, Buddhist holidays are set by the lunar calendar and vary from year to year. Official holidays include the international New Year's Day (1 January); Chinese New Year; Chakri Day (6 April); Coronation Day (5 May); Royal Ploughing Ceremony (11 May); the Queen’s Birthday (12 August); Chulalongkorn Day (23 October, honouring the “beloved monarch”, who abolished slavery and introduced many reforms); the King’s Birthday (5 December); Constitution Day (10 December); and New Year’s Eve (31 December). Some important religious holidays include Makha Bucha, Asalaha Bucha, and Visakha Bucha, which mark important events in Buddhism’s history. Songkhran is the Thai New Year. Loy Krathong honours the water goddess for providing water throughout the year; people float small “boats” with candles, coins, or flowers on waterways. For government workers and schools Thais enjoy some of the longest and frequent holidays in the world. Schools for example have about five months holiday a year.


 


 
 

                                                                            
  



Tel: (English) ++66 (0895 720 360)

 
 
 
 
 
(ไทย) ++66 (088 310 5806)
                     (086 719 6507)












 

 




 
 


 
 
 


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