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Mon 24 Apr 2017
Piercing the Ears
Written by National Culture Commission   
Thursday, 08 February 2007 23:48
When the child has passed three days of age. if it is a girl the midwife usually pierces the ears as part of her job. The method of piercing is to prepare a needle threaded with cotton thread dyed black with Diospyros mollis. At the time of piercing she must roll the outer ear until it is numb and examine the ear so as not to pierce it at a nerve. The she takes a betelleaf stem, dips it in lime, and touches it to both sides of the ear to serve as a marker. A tiny slice of the rhizome of Zingiber casumunar or turmeric is placed under the ear as a support, and then the ear is pierced, allowing the thread to remain. After piercing, she applies coconut oil and turmeric to knit the wound, and pulls the thread back and forth constantly, continually dropping coconut oil on it to prevent dryness; or if house-hold oil which is applied to infant's sores and pimples is used, then all the better. People take shell from the bottom of the coconut, leaves of the neem tree, jasmine leaves, and gummy turmeric, pound these together and then squeeze out the juice. Then they sprinkle salt on this and place it in the sun until it dries and turns to oil, and then it can be used. Another method of piercing causes the child little pain but is slow and time-consuming; people take an angular piece of lead with both ends bent to form a ring and clamp this to the ear, gradually pressing it in a little at a time until the ear is perforated. I have heard complaints that this method is not good, and cannot compare with the more rapid method of piercing with a needle, but I suspect that the method of piercing with a needle is a recent method. After the ear is pierced, it is desired to make the hole large; and when they woundheals and the thread has been pulled out, they enlarge the hole with the stem of a head of dried garlic or young grass, or use the wood of Sesbania roxburghii or roots of Sonneratia caseolaris, which expand when touched with water. The hole can be made as large as is desired; for example, in some localities people gradually replace this wood that is inserted by pieces of larger and larger size. This procedure of piercing the ears is done only to ordinary people. It is known that women of the old upper classes, such as royalty, did not pierce their ears, because they regarded it as a low thing. The reason that it is necessary to pierce the ears while the child is still very small is that at this time the child is not yet very sensitive to pain, because the flesh is still immature, and also the child does not yet know how to pull and tug at the thread so that it comes out.
Information from: "Essays on Cultural Thailand" by Office of the National Culture Commission.