Writer: Nivan Narula
Graphic Illustrator: Rubina Srikureja
Editor & Publisher: Jaspreet Narang
Thai people have superstitions and beliefs in different things so understanding the myths, taboos, superstitions or lucky charms will help you get a grasp on all kinds of cultural oddities. As some might say that cutting hair on a Wednesday is considered unlucky, or a certain number is considered lucky…you start to wonder which ones are true? There are a few which are a bit scary and hard to believe so I’ll try and give you a rundown of which ones you should keep account of while you’re travelling around Bangkok (you know, to keep you safe and sound and ensure you don’t attract any bad luck).
Taboos & Superstitions
On Cutting Hair
If you are thinking about getting haircut in Bangkok, don’t forget to check the day first. Thai people consider it to be bad luck to get a haircut on Wednesday so don’t be surprised if you find barber shops closed midweek.
That Time of the Month
When its that time of the month for all you ladies out there, just remember not to step into any temple in Bangkok as it is believed that girls are impure during leak week.
Touching Someone’s Head
Make sure you don’t accidentally touch anyone’s head here in Bangkok as it is believed to be the cleanest and most holy part of the body. Touching someone’s head can be seen as disrespectful and also make people feel uncomfortable!
Pointing at Rainbows
If you see a rainbow on your travels, try to control your urge to point at it because you sure don’t want your finger to be amputated. The rainbow is considered holy in Thailand, and we don’t like pointing at them!
The Large Gekko
Tukkae! Tukkae! Tukkae! The sound of a large gecko only found in tropical countries is conveniently given the name “Tukkae” by Thais. If you hear that sound at night, try not to leave your place because rumour has it that the Tukkae is warning you that something bad will happen to you that night.
Lucky Charms & Customs
Not so much a lucky charm, but considered a huge custom in the Thai culture, and worth mentioning is the “Wai”. This is surely something everyone should know before coming to Bangkok! The wai is the Thai way of greeting and showing respect to one another. All you have to do is press your palms together near your chest and bow.The higher the clasped hands are held in relation to the face and the lower the bow, the more respect is show to the person receiving the greetings! So make sure you learn how to wai because for Thai people the wai means everything and it is a beautiful way to greet people that will make you feel a part of the Thai culture. Oh also, don’t forget to say “Sawasdee” when you wai, which means “Hello” in the Thai language.
The color yellow is the most important color in Thailand because the present Thai King was born on a Monday and the color for that day is yellow. When you are travelling in Bangkok be sure to nice the yellows on a Monday, and now you’ll know the reason why. Also, if you happen to be in Thailand on December 5th, which happens to be the King’s birthday and Thailand’s national father’s day, the color yellow will flood the streets!
The number 9
Lucky number 7? No way. In Thailand we believe in lucky number 9. You must be wondering, why 9? and I’m sitting here wondering why 7? Well, at least I can explain the 9! Thai people believe that number 9 is considered lucky because nine is pronounced ‘Gao’, which in Thai means to step forward or progress. It is also fair to say that Thai people take their superstitions quite seriously because they will try to move into new homes, arrange weddings on the auspicious number 9 and people also try to get their car license plates and lottery tickets with the number 9 in it.
Colors of the Day
Do you ever find yourself questioning what to wear every morning? This question is answered most easily in Thailand especially when it comes to clothing color choices. A specific color is assigned for each day of the week , and if you’re born on a particular day, I guess you’ll know your lucky color in advance! No trials and testing. Here is the list incase you find yourself contemplating what to wear while traveling in Bangkok!
- Yellow for Mondays
- Pink for Tuesdays
- Green for Wednesdays
- Orange for Thursdays
- Blue for Fridays
- Purple for Saturdays
- Red for Sundays
The Bamboo Plant
Thai people believes that Bamboo plants represents long life and endurance as it is believed to be a magic tree because of it’s durability. Apparently, hanging the picture of a bamboo plant can eliminate evils so for everyone out there who is afraid of ‘evils’, make sure to buy a bamboo plant or find a picture of it to hang in your home!