Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Father's Day - In Thailand

A Father Accepts Offerings From His Children and Nieces
 Today, 5 December, is a holiday in Thailand.  Today is King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 85th birthday.  As King he is considered to be and revered as father to the Thai people. As such, his birthday is also celebrated as "Father's Day" just as Queen's birthday is also considered to be "Mother's Day"

Today throughout Thailand, children paid respect to their father and made offerings to him in small private rituals.  In Bangkok there were tens of thousands of people witnessing the "Trooping of the Colours" where the military pledged their allegiance to the King and wish him a Happy Birthday.

We drove out to Tahsang Village in the late morning for Duang to pay respects to her father.  Duang is a very loving and forgiving daughter.  We stopped at the market in Kumphawapi to buy some things to give Duang's father and two uncles.  After buying some boxes of milk, bananas ($0.15 a pound), and special floral arrangements called "pumahlai"

Pumahlai - Fresh Floral Arrangements

Duang and her sister knelt before their father who was seated above them, bowed their heads almost to the ground once and offered him a pumahlai and some cash on a plate.  As they made the offering to their father they said something along the lines of "Father, you have taken care of us and you have taken care of Momma for a long time, we wish that you live for a long time.  We wish that Buddha take care of you"  As he accepted the offerings, he said something along the lines of "You are good daughter.  The money that you gave me will come back and more to you. You have good husband.  He loves you very much.  Good luck to you.  Buddha take care of you long time." After the ritual, he was given some boxed milk and a bag of bananas.

Duang and Her Sister Make Offering to Their Father

Duang, her sister, and I then made a short walk through Tahsang Village to pay respects to one of their uncles.  Once again they offered cash, a pumahlai, and boxed milk to him in a ritual similar to the one for their father.

Offerings to An Uncle On Father's Day
After a short visit, we walked across the village to another uncle's home.  Apparently, at least for Duang and her sister, Father's Day is not just limited to your biological father but to all senior males of the family.  I know that Duang has many more than two uncles so I asked her about the others.  She replied that they lived too far away (i.e. too far to walk) and it would cost too much money.  OK - good enough reasons for me.

This uncle had his daughter and son visiting along with his young grandson.  The ritual was repeated once again.

A Father Accepts Offerings

Son, Daughters and Niece Make An Offering
After finishing paying our respects to the elderly men, we headed back to our home but not before taking some more photos but that will be another blog entry.

Today I read on the Internet that Thailand was selected as one of the best places for Americans to retire. Besides the low cost of living here, respect for the elderly was listed as an advantage. Both are real advantages here.

I hope that not too many people decide to act upon the Internet poll.  I enjoy and I am happy staying here. The last thing that I would wish to see would be for Thailand to be over run by people trying to make Thailand like the country they just left.  When people point out in negative intonations how Thailand is not like the USA, I point out that if I wanted to live in a country like the USA, I would return to America.  In my opinion, different isn't necessarily bad.  I support multiculturalism in the world.  I would not want to live in a world where culture or even governments are homogenized - one world culture, one worl government.  I support choices where I am free to be me and, perhaps more importantly, others are free to be them.

Today, I was pleased to witness Father's day in December, Father's Day in Thailand.

No comments:

Post a Comment