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Mon 24 Apr 2017
Thai Culture on Stamps
Written by Panrit "Gor" Daoruang   
Monday, 26 February 2007 22:28

Folk games have existed in every society for a long time since the early days of human civilization, although we can't specify the exact date of their inventions. What we can say without exaggeration is that folk games have evolved from the past to the present, being adapted according to the context and society of each nation.

Thai folk games have been directly and indirectly meaningful for the life of Thai children in many aspects.

in joining the games, besides the benefit of doing exercises which is vital for children's physical development, they can also learn to observe the rules of the games. And in so doing, they learn how to compromise as well as how to be a good winner and loser. The children can be initiative in applying surrounding environments to the games and they are also expected to apply what they learn from the games to their daily lives. Such a practice can become a pattern or guideline for them when growing up as adults.

The most popular and well-known Thai folk games are Kite flying, Wheel rolling, Catching the last one in the lines, Snatching a baby from the mother snake, Spider clutching the roof, Pebbles tossing and picking, Hide and seek, Touching a finger on the hands, Tug of war, Chase racing, Hiding a cloth behind one's back, Monkeys scrambling for posts, Trapping the fish, Humming and tagging (Kabaddi), Blindfold pot-hitting, Walking with coconut shells, Rope skipping, Piggyback racing, Top spinning, and Banana rib hobbyhorse riding.

"Once upon a time......" is the well-known phrase to begin a folk tale of any nation. Folk tales are popular to entertain and to teach children through generations. Thai folks tales have constituted an important part of Thai life since the days of antiquity. They are native wisdom of the people, which has been accumulated for a long time. Many desirable attributes, e.g. bravery, honestly, reasonableness, self-reliability, etc. have been incorporated into folk tales for teaching young people.

In addition to folk tales, Thai literature is nauseated by parents to their children. The stories are also as much fun and popular as the folk tales. The most famous Thai folk tales and literature include Ta In Ta Na, Honwichai Khawi, Yai Ka Ta (Grandma and Grandpa). Tao Saen Pom, Tao Khulu Nang Ua, Si Thanon Chai, Ma Khon Kham (Golden-haired dog), Sano Noi Ruean Ngam, Pla Bu Thong, and Phra Aphai Mani, Sang Thong, Khun Chang - Khun Phaen, Rammakian (Ramayana) and Ngo Pa.

A celebration starts on the first day that a child is born. Some families prefer to lay the child in a rattan basket for three consecutive nights. If the child is a boy, parents will place a knife, a book, and a pencil in the basket. The knife signifies that the child will grow up to be diligent in earning his living, while the book and the pencil mean high intelligence. In case the child is a girl, they will put a needle and thread in the basket to signify that the girl will grow up to be a good housewife. This is followed by the ritual of arranging the cradle for the baby.

When a child is one month old, the rite of haircutting is held. Some families invite a monk to cut pieces of hair first, then followed by senior relatives. The child will then be bathed and dressed in new clothes before being put in a cradle while old relatives chanting some traditional folk songs. The ceremony usually ends with the floating of the child's hair into a canal to signify the child's peaceful life in the future.

Another important rite for a Thai is a ceremony to show respect for teachers. In the past, the ceremony was held when children started learning for the first time.

In addition to encouraging their children to learn secular knowledge. Thai parents also prefer to have their young sons temporarily ordained as novices in order to study ethics which will contribute to the boys' growing up as good citizens in the future.