Thai Culture & Religion - Thailand Islands

 
 

Thailand Islands - Thai Culture & Religion


 
 
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Thai culture differs greatly from the west and is heavily influenced by Buddhism and Indian culture. For instance the greatest piece of Thai literature is called the Ramakien and this is a version of the classic Ramayana from India.

Music plays a major part in Thai society with both classical Thai music and pop music being very popular. With regards to drama, there is no tradition in Thailand with respects to spoken drama but Thai dancing is famous throughout the world for its color, spectacle and the intricate movements of the dancers.

Thai customs to be aware of when travelling include the Thai gesture 'wai' which is very similar
to the Indian 'namaste' and is used for greetings and farewells. In Thailand the head is sacred and must not be touched by others. It is also forbidden to disrespect the King and the monarchy as they are worshipped by all Thais and the King is often seen as a father figure for the nation.

Thais are famous for their hospitality when it comes to visitors coming to their homes or offices. In homes and in many restaurants, it is quite normal to sit on the floor which adds to the informal atmosphere. Eating a Thai meal is normally carried out with a spoon and fork although knives are still used for western meals in restaurants. Thai food is both fragrant and delicious although some people may find them to be too spicy and will need time to adapt.

Religion in Thailand is dominated by Buddhism with approximately 94% of Thais following the Theravada school of Buddhism. Theravada Buddhism originated in India and maybe translated as meaning 'the Ancient Teaching'. This school of Buddhism dominates south-east Asia in countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and parts of China. Other religions are followed by a small percentage of the population including Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs.

Buddhism dominates the religious architecture of Thailand with over 27,000 temples and Buddhist monks are shown deep respect throughout the country.

Theravada Buddhism is based around the law of Karma or cause and effect in which the individual goes through a cycle of birth, death and rebirth until he or she achieves a state of Nirvana which breaks this cycle of suffering.