Thailand


 

Thai  Recipes
 

 

 

 

 

thiland   The Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma.
     
Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea to the southwest.
            
The culture of Thailand incorporates cultural beliefs and characteristics indigenous to the area known as modern day Thailand coupled with much influence from ancient India, China, Cambodia, along with the neighboring pre-historic cultures of Southeast Asia.
It is influenced primarily by Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, as well as by later migrations from China, and southern India.
Thailand is nearly 95% Theravada Buddhist, with minorities of Muslims (5-6%), Christians (1%), Mahayana Buddhists, and other religions.[1]
Buddhism in Thailand is strongly influenced by traditional beliefs regarding ancestral and natural spirits, which have been incorporated into Buddhist cosmology. Most Thai people own spirit houses, miniature wooden houses in which they believe household spirits live. They present offerings of food and drink to these spirits to keep them happy. If these spirits aren't happy, it is believed that they will inhabit the larger household of the Thai, and cause chaos. These spirit houses can be found in public places and in the streets of Thailand, where the public make offerings.
 Prior to the rise of Theravada Buddhism, both Indian Brahmanic religion and Mahayana Buddhism were present in Thailand. Influences from both these traditions can still be seen in present day Thai folklore. Brahmanist shrines play an important role in Thai folk religion, and the Mahayana Buddhist influence is reflected in the presence of figures like Lokesvara, a form of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara sometimes incorporated into Thailand's iconography.
The traditional customs and the folklore of Thai people were gathered and described, at a time when modernity changed the face of Thailand and a great number of traditions disappeared or became adapted to modern life. Still, the strife towards refinement, rooted in ancient Siamese culture, consisting in promoting what is refined and avoiding coarseness is the main emphasis in the daily life of all Thai people and topmost in their scale of values.
One of the most distinctive Thai customs is the wai (Thai greeting). Showing greeting, farewell, or acknowledgement, it comes in several forms reflecting the relative status of those involved. Generally the salutation involves a prayer-like gesture with the hands, similar to the Añjali Mudrā of the Indian subcontinent, and it also may include a slight bow of the head. This salutation is often accompanied by a serene smile symbolizing a welcoming disposition and a pleasant attitude. Thailand is often referred to as the "Land of Smiles" in tourist brochures.
Public display of affection in public is not common in traditional Thai society, especially between lovers. Friends may be seen walking together holding hands, but couples rarely do so except in Westernized areas.
In everyday life in Thailand, there is a strong emphasis on the concept of sanuk'; the idea that life should be fun. Because of this, Thai can be quite playful at work and during day-to-day activities. Displaying positive emotions in social interactions is also important in Thai culture. Often, the Thai will deal with disagreements, minor mistakes or misfortunes by using the phrase "mai pen rai", translated as "it doesn't matter". The ubiquitous use of this phrase in Thailand reflects a disposition towards minimizing conflict, disagreements or complaints. A smile and the sentence "mai pen rai" indicate that the incident is not important and therefore there is no conflict or shame involved.
Respect for hierarchy is a very important value for Thai people. The custom of bun khun, emphasizes the indebtedness towards parents, as well as towards guardians, teachers and caretakers. It is also considered extremely rude to step on a Thai coin, because the king's head appears on the coin.
Thai marriage ceremonies between Buddhists are generally divided into two parts: a Buddhist component, which includes the recitation of prayers and the offering of food and other gifts to monks and images of the Buddha, and a non-Buddhist component rooted in folk traditions, which centers on the couple's family.
In former times, it was unknown for Buddhist monks to be present at any stage of the marriage ceremony itself. As monks were required to attend to the dead during funerals, their presence at a marriage (which was associated with fertility, and intended to produce children) was considered a bad omen. A couple would seek a blessing from their local temple before or after being married, and might consult a monk for astrological advice in setting an auspicious date for the wedding. The non-Buddhist portions of the wedding would take place away from the temple, and would often take place on a separate day.
In modern times, these prohibitions have been significantly relaxed. It is not uncommon for a visit to a temple to be made on the same day as the non-Buddhist portions of a wedding, or even for the wedding to take place within the temple. While a division is still commonly observed between the "religious" and "secular" portions of a wedding service, it may be as simple as the monks present for the Buddhist ceremony departing to take lunch once their role is complete.
Thai visual art was traditionally primarily Buddhist. Thai Buddha images from different periods have a number of distinctive styles. Thai temple art and architecture evolved from a number of sources, one of them being Khmer architecture. Contemporary Thai art often combines traditional Thai elements with modern techniques.
Literature in Thailand is heavily influenced by Indian Hindu culture. There is no tradition of spoken drama in Thailand, the role instead being filled by Thai dance. This is divided into three categories - khon, lakhon and likay - khon being the most elaborate and likay the most popular. Nang drama, a form of shadow play, is found in the south.
The music of Thailand includes classical and folk music as well as string or pop music.

 


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Debbie's Culinary Journey, debbiesculinaryjourney@gmail.com