The Country for December’s Traveling Around the World Display is Thailand

Basic Info of Thailand

It’s a country, shaped like an axe, located in southeast Asia with population of 70 million and the area of same size as Texas.  Language used is Thai which has 44 consonant letters, 21 vowels (excluding blends), and 5 tones.  Main staple is rice (eaten with forks and spoons, not chopsticks) and Thai desserts are typically made from coconut (plus flour and sugar.)  Traditional sports are Muay Thai and Sepak Takraw.

 

 

Thai Festivals

Thailand doesn’t celebrate Christmas because the majority of the population are Buddhists.  Therefore, a lot of Thai holidays revolve around key events in Buddhism.  On those days, people typically give alms to monks in the morning and go to the temple to take part in the candlelit procession in the evening.  Three holidays which highlight different aspects of Thailand are:

  1. Songkran (or Water Festival)

Thai New Year happens on April 13.  On that day, people pay gratitude to elders, visit the temple, and, most importantly, enjoy water fights.

  1. Loy Kratong (or Light Festival)

This is a festival to express gratitude and ask for forgiveness from the goddess of water.  People float a little lotus-shaped raft, decorated with flowers, candles and incense, down the canal or river.  The raft is traditionally made from banana tree trunk (cut in a disk shape) as a base and banana leaves folded into petals which are then put on the banana trunk to look like a lotus flower.  Recent times, people come up with more creative material to be environmentally friendly like fish food or bread. 

  1. Harvest Festival

This festival marks the beginning of the rice growing season (around June).  Thailand is an agricultural country with rice being the main crop.  During this festival, there is a prediction of rain water during the year and what crops will grow well.  Rain water is predicted by picking a piece of cloth from a set of 3 with different length.  If the shortest is selected, then there will be more rain than usual and vice versa.  Two oxen are offered different food (i.e., rice, corn, beans, sesame, grass, water, rice whisky.)  What they choose to eat will be used to predict whether the growing season will be bountiful or not.    

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