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Thailand. Beatriz Loya. General country info. Thailand has a land area of 513,115 . The temperature varies from 38°C to 19°C with the annual average at about 29°C .

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    1. Thailand Beatriz Loya

    2. General country info • Thailand has a land area of 513,115 • The temperature varies from 38°C to 19°C with the annual average at about 29°C. • There are three seasons in Northern, Northeastern and Central Thailand - hot (March to May), rainy (June to October), and cool (November to February). And there are two seasons in the South - rainy (April to November) and hot (December to March).

    3. Traditional customs Choosing the date: Engagement: The engagement ceremony must take place before the wedding although for practicality and to save money, some couples may hold it on the same day as the wedding • To ensure a happy and prosperous marriage, the couple should marry at an auspicious time and date. This isn’t taken lightly and astrologers may be consulted to see if the stars are compatible.

    4. The wedding day • This ceremony is what the Thais call ‘sanuk’ with plenty of laughter and frivolity most of which comes at the expense of the groom as he is teased and gently ribbed by the bride’s family. The bride remains inside the house when the khan maak procession arrives. To make sure that the groom is worthy and financially able to take care of his bride, he must be able to open the symbolic doors or gates. During the wedding ceremony, the couple wear traditional Thai clothing and kneel in front of the senior elder, with the groom on the right. The couple ‘wai’ as specially prepared white thread, ‘saimonkhon’, is looped and used to link together the bride’s and the groom’s heads. It is symbolic that the thread forms two circles which whilst linked, also remain independent. This indicates that the couple’s destinies are linked, but individual identity is retained. The circle is also symbolic because of its continuity and the fact that merit can be carried around in the circle. The bride and groom wear garlands round their neck and kneel and wai whilst the elder says a few words and anoints them on the forehead. A conch shell (known in Thai as ‘sang’) is filled with holy water and is used by each guest to gently pour over the hands of the newly-weds (‘rod nam’ means to soak with water). Each guest places a gift, usually an envelope of money, in a basket. The amount given is supposed to depend on social status. In return the guest may receive a small memento of the wedding day before the group photos are then taken. The newly-weds sit next to each other whilst an old and wise man says auspicious things and blesses the wedding. White threads are linked to the wrists and soaked with holy water. The thread is then torn on the side until it breaks and whoever has the longest piece is supposed to be the one whose love is deepest. Lots of relatives, friends and well-wishers will tie pieces of white string, ‘sai sin’, around the wrist of each couple to wish them good luck. The wedding reception or party often starts around with the bride and bridegroom greeting guests as they arrive. There may be a book to sign wishing the couple good luck and the guests will present a gift (normally money in an envelope) to the newly-weds and may have their photo taken with the couple. Around guests will sit down to eat and approximately 45 minutes or an hour later, the Master of Ceremonies (MC) will stand. The MC can be a good friend of either the bride or the groom or he could be somebody hired especially for the event. The MC calls the newly-weds to the floor and the parents of the groom will present the couple with a wedding flower. At Thai weddings there is often a guest of honour and they will be called next to make a short speech to wish the couple well.

    5. Who takes part in the ceremony • Anyone can be in the ceremony, as long as they approve it. They are usually their closest friends and relatives.

    6. Bride & attire

    7. Attendant attire Women: Men: Along sleeve shirt and a pair of plain trousers or slacks is a good choice. At an average wedding, most male guests won’t wear a tie, but if you want you can always take one with you and take it off it gets too hot (which it probably will). Thai men often wear a traditional silk round-neck shirt and these can be made to measure quite cheaply by most tailor shops anywhere in Thailand. The standard of dress by male guests may vary quite widely depending on age and status and how well they know the bride or groom. At the evening meal it isn’t that unusual to see some Thai men wearing jeans and trainers/sneakers. However, as a foreign visitor you are likely to be deemed an honoured guest and should make some effort to look smart especially if you are related to the bride or groom. • Women attending a Buddhist ceremony should dress modestly and try to avoid bare shoulders, ‘spaghetti’ tops and short skirts. This only applies to the Buddhist ceremony and not the evening meal or party where events are more relaxed. Avoid wearing a black dress or top because according to traditional Thai belief wearing black at a wedding can bring about bad luck for the newly-weds. Wherever the wedding event is held conditions are likely to be hot and humid so the best advice is to wear something loose fitting and not too restrictive.

    8. Other info What Not to Wear: • As a general rule for guests attending a Thai wedding you should avoid t-shirts, vests, shorts or flip-flops (thongs). It is also considered unlucky to wear black at a wedding, so this means no black dresses or tops for women and no black shirts or ties for men, although it is ok to wear black shoes and black trousers or slacks.

    9. Summary • In Thailand, they do a lot of what we do in the U.S. They have different traditions that they do during their wedding. Our Father’s don’t really get to choose who we marry but in Thailand, it’s a big part in their religion. Their after party starts a little earlier than ours do as well.