When most people hear about Thailand…
The first thing that comes to your mind is “The land of smiles”. However, have you ever known that Thailand is also the land of Superstitions with an endless list of cultural beliefs. Many superstitions involve ghosts or bad luck and some are referred to good humor others are simply stated as fact.
Of course that superstitious beliefs exist in every part of the world such as :
However, Thais have a tendency to demonstrate superstitious practices more than others
The obvious aspect that we can see easily these days is Superstitious belief play a crucial role in Thai consumers and business decisions. As Thais don’t only rely on charts and grafts when it comes to financial decisions, but also lucky charm or superstitious objects to encourage them to take risks. According to the findings of a research by Dr. Theeranuch Pusaksrikit, a lecturer of Chulalongkorn Business School, Chulalongkorn University.
In Thailand, there are a bunch of Thai superstitious beliefs with an endless list of them. If you are Thai, grew up with grandparents, there were many beliefs and taboos that you needed to obey. As a child, you don’t think about it that much, you just do and follow just what they want us to do. Nevertheless, when you grow up and be able to learn about it and start to find the root of them on the internet, you start to know the aims and truth behind them
These are the lists of the common curious superstitions you’ll find in the Land of Smiles. Some of them might use it as a tool to teach and prevent people from danger, but some can not tell the reason why Thais believe in it.
1. “Do not cut your hair on Wednesday, or something bad will happen to you”
As we know that most barber’s shop in Thailand closed on a Wednesday and not just for no good reason. Thais believe it is not only bad luck to have your haircut on a Wednesday but that it is also an auspicious day.
In fact : This belief comes from the members of the old Thai royal family that they will having their hair cut on Wednesday. Therefore, common people were prohibited to do so and this belief is repeated by the word of mouth until today.
2. “Babies are not cute!”
Well… they are, but in Thais believe that if you call a baby cute, a ghost will take the baby away. Thais also believe that if a pregnant women attends a funeral, the spirit of a dead person will haunt their babies once they are born.
In fact : This belief came from the fact that the adults were afraid that if someone heard that the baby is cute, he/she might come and steal the baby away.
3. “Do not sing while cooking, or you will end up with an old husband”
If you are a single female and sing while cooking or eating you will end up with an old husband, most of Thai ladies will hear this taboo. If you are afraid about having to marry an old man, you must stop singing while cooking immediately!- just kidding.
In fact : It came from the facts that if they sing while cooking the might not pay attention. Thus, the rice will burn because the rice cooker didn’t exist at that time. Or you will accidently cut yourself with a kitchen knife. Therefore, Thai people use this belief use to scare women who fear they would end up with an old husband.
4. “Your finger will fall off if you point at a rainbow”
In many cultures, rainbows are the symbol of good luck and it’s always fun to see no matter how old you are. However, in Thailand if you point at a rainbow, your finger will fall off. Many people suggest that you should point with all your fingers and the palm of your hand, same goes for holy images.
In fact : This taboo came from the fact that the rainbow will appear when the rain falls, so the adults or parents use to tell their kids like this to prevent the kids from going out since the rain can make them sick and cold.
5. “If you lay down and eat, you will be a snake in your next life”
When you were young, laying down, eating snacks and watching cartoons at the same time was the happiest thing on Earth, but Thai parents always interrupt your happiness by telling you that if you do this, you will be a snake in the next life!
In fact : this taboo comes from the fact that, the adults and parents afraid that if their kids eat while they lay down, it can make them choke because the rice or snack might stuck in their throat.
6. “Do not knock your plate while eating”
If you’re a big fan of Thai horror movies, you may be familiar with the scene where characters started hitting their bowls in order to summon a ghost. The Thai belief is that knocking on your plates or bowls when eating is a call for spirits to join you for a meal.
In fact : The secret is plain and simple: good table manners. Parents used this as an excuse to get kids to knock off the habit of making noise at the table.
7. “Don’t look between your legs!”
This is a common belief that if you bend down and look between your legs you will see ghosts. Most of Thai people avoid doing this as they scare of coming face to face with a ghost.
In fact : However, this superstition comes from the fact that when you bend down your knees and your head turns upside down, it can make you dizzy, faint, or make you tumble and get hurt.
8. “Playing hide and seek at night will attract ghosts”
This is a common Southeast Asian superstition. The adults always tell kids not to play hide and seek or catching at night. Old Thais said that an “extra” player will join you otherwise. These uninvited guests will use their supernatural abilities to cover you from being found or caught. Then take your soul with them to the netherworld.
In fact : At night, it can be dangerous for little kiddos to play without supervision in the dark. Parents have many concerns such as their kids getting hurt, lost, or even kidnapped. Those who grew up in more rural areas had the risk of encountering dangerous animals too.
9. “Luk-thep or haunted doll”
This belief just happened in the modern era. Luk thep, which translates to child angel, cause a viral fad when Bangkok hipsters decide to worship, give them food and clothes, and carry around these haunted dolls wherever they go, they believe that Luk-thep contains the spirit of a child. Moreover, They believe that Luk thep to boost cash flow and bring prosperity to their doting humans.
10. “Ghosts will tell you the winning lottery numbers”
Ghosts play an integral part in Thai culture and belief. Also with Lottery that it becomes a crucial part of Thai culture. In Thai, we obsess to be won the lottery prize, so they believe that the ghost can predict your future in the form of the next winning lottery numbers. This can happen in a number of ways and even occurs in haunted trees “hinting” lottery numbers. Thai people also believe that to scrape on the exotic trees the lucky number will appear to you.
For the last TWO superstitious beliefs
Both of them are unable to find the truth and the reasons behind them. However, according to the research, they found that superstitious beliefs play an important role in Thai business decisions and finances. The research findings also show that it is possible that the more the adolescents and low-income consumers become proactive superstitious believers, the more they have put their faith in risk-taking behaviors because proactive superstitions can increase their feeling of hope and being in power and control -Dr. Theeranuch research.
We can see that some of the superstitious beliefs are the tool to trick the children to obey and follow – if you are not guilty of using it to scare little kids! LOL. But some of the superstitious can not prove and don’t have any fact behind them. However, before you trust, believe, and do something, you must be conscious and be careful in everything you do!
Do you believe in superstition and have similar beliefs in your culture?
I am interest to know 🙂