The Thailand Culture

Thai culture has developed a lot over time, from its isolation during the Sukhothai era to its more contemporary Ayutthaya era, which gained influences from across Asia. 

Strong Chinese, Burmese, Indian and other influences from Southeast Asia are still evident in traditional Thai culture. Buddhism, animism, and westernization also play an important role in the formation of culture. Aspects of Thailand’s culture include religion, traditional arts, and national holiday’s e.t.c.

Religion

Religion is a great part of Thailand’s culture. The majority of Thais are Buddhist. Thailand is about 95 percent Buddhist, majorly from the Theravada institute and an unknown minority belonging to the Mahayana school.

Furthermore, there are minorities of Muslims in Thailand (5-6 percent), Christians (1 percent) and other religions. Theravada Thai Buddhism is supported and supervised by the government, and the monks enjoy several government benefits, such as free use of public transportation.

Buddhism in Thailand is influenced by local beliefs regarding natural and ancestral spirits, which have been incorporated into Buddhist cosmology. Most Thais set up spirit houses, miniature houses outside their homes, where they believe domestic spirits live.

Traditional arts

Visual art is an important part of Thailand’s culture. Visual arts in Thailand were traditionally Buddhist only. Thai Buddha statues from different eras have several distinctive styles. The architecture of Thai Buddha temples forms a unique combination of elements gotten from ancient Siamese architecture.

Thailand’s literature is influenced strongly by Indian Hindu culture. Popular literature works in Thai are a version of the Ramayana, a Hindu religious epic called Ramakien, written in part by the kings Rama I and Rama II, and the poetry of Sunthorn Phu.

Holidays

Important holidays in Thai culture include the Thai New Year, or Songkran, which is officially observed from April 13 to 15 of each year. Falling at the end of the dry season and during the hot season in Thailand, the celebrations are notoriously noisy. The stream of water came from washing Buddha images and sprinkling perfumed water lightly on the hands of the elders. Small amounts of scented talc have also been used in the annual cleansing rite. In recent decades, water struggles have become increasingly industrialized with the use of pipes, barrels, squirt guns, surgical tubes filled with water, and large amounts of dust.

Loi Krathong takes place on the twelfth full moon of the Thai lunar calendar, usually in early November. Although this is not a government-observed holiday, it is an auspicious day in Thai culture, during which the Thai people float a small raft traditionally made of leaves and carefully folded banana flowers, candles, incense sticks, and small offerings. Floating on the raft of candles is a symbol of letting go of all your grudges, anger and contamination so you can start life with a better foundation. 

National Elephant Day or Chang Thai Day is a public holiday in Thailand, which is celebrated on March 13 and celebrates the cultural and historical importance of the elephant in Thailand.

Reading and internet

Reading and using the internet is part of Thailand’s culture. Eighty-eight percent of Thais read and spend an average of 28 minutes a day, according to a survey by the Thai Publishers and Booksellers Association (PUBAT), the Research Center of the Faculty of Economics and Social Development and Chulalongkorn University Mall.

In total, 3,432 Thais aged 15-69 in 12 provinces, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Songkhla, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Khon Kaen, were interviewed between December 2014 and January 2015. While 88 percent of the Thai respondents said they had read books, 12 percent said no. They cited lack of time, poor vision, and an aversion to reading as reasons.

On average for the entire population, Thais spend 28 minutes a day reading books. The population reading subset averages 46 minutes per day. Of this group, those under the age of 20 spend most of their time reading books, 56 minutes per day. 

From the survey conducted, it was discovered that 71 percent of Thais use the Internet every day for about 92 minutes. Those who spend more time on the Internet are people under the age of 20; on average spend 224 minutes per day, while those over 61 spend ten minutes per day online.

In 2013, the Thai National Statistical Office conducted a reading survey that found that Thais over the age of six spent an average of 37 minutes per day reading. The survey was not specifically about reading books but also reading magazines, the Internet, tablets, and smartphones.