Welcome To My Beloved Country, Thailand part 14

Photograph by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

I went to Thailand to visit my family for two months, from July and August 2017.  I did not visit home since 2006.  I was glad to see my family.  I enjoyed seeing all new development in Bangkok and loved eating authentic Thai food, especially Thai fruits.

I had a chance to visit my home town, Lopburi, where I was raised when I was young, before we moved to Bangkok.  I traveled to Ayutthaya to see the ruins of temples that were burned by Burmese soldiers, when the Burmese wanted to take over Thailand, The Burmese–Siamese War (1765–1767).  Ayutthaya was one of the former capitals of Thailand before moved to, Thonburi and then Bangkok.  I also traveled to, Chiang Mai, located in the Northern part of Thailand.  Chiang Mai is the second largest and second most popular city of Thailand.

John, my husband came to Thailand in August.  He joined me traveling to different part of Thailand.  I had a good time taking videos and photographs wherever I traveled around Bangkok and other part of Thailand.  I hope the viewers of my website will enjoy the photographs that I present in these projects.

Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Worshiper and the Thai Classical dancers perform for Pra Phrom (The four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thai land

Culture of Thailand

Thailand’s culture has evolved greatly over time, from the country’s pre-globalization time in Sukhothai era, to its more contemporary Ayutthaya era, which absorbs influences from all over Asia. Strong Indian, Chinese and other Southeast Asian influences are still evident in traditional Thai culture up until the modern Rattanakosin era.[1] Buddhism and Animism also play a significant role in shaping the culture.

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Thailand

A Worshipper and Thai Classical dancers perform for Pra Phrom (The four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

Photograph by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

“People offer prayers and seek blessings at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand. The Erawan Shrine is a Hindu shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, that houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu creation god Brahma. A popular tourist attraction, it often features performances by resident Thai dance troupes, who are hired by worshippers in return for seeing their prayers at the shrine answered.”

For more information please visit the following link:

Travel & Events

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeZF_mpFbgM

“Thai folklore is a diverse set of traditional beliefs held by the Thai people. Most Thai folklore has a regional background for it originated in rural Thailand. With the passing of time, and through the influence of the media, large parts of Thai folklore have become interwoven with the wider popular Thai culture.

Phraya Anuman Rajadhon (1888–1969) was the first Thai scholar to seriously study local folkloristics. He took copious notes on humble details of his culture such as the charms used by Thai shopkeepers to attract customers. He also studied in depth the oral literature related to different village spirits and ghosts of Thai lore.[1]

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_folklore

Thai folklore: The core of Thai folklore is rooted in folk religion. Until they were recorded, folk beliefs were handed down from one generation to the next.

Village shamans are known as phram, a word that has its origin in Brahma, from a general and vague historical Vedic background. The phram conducts exorcisms and performs marriages, among other ceremonies.”

Thai folklore: Another important figure in Thai folk religion is the mo phi  shaman who would also conduct rituals. To invoke spirits of the dead, four sticks are planted at equal distance from each other on the ground near the burial or cremation place. A thread is tied around the sticks forming a protective square and a mat is spread in the middle, where the mo phi sits down. In front of him, outside of the square there is a mo khao terracotta jar with a yantra painted on the outside containing the ashes or bones of the dead person. Beside the jar there is also a plate of rice as an offering and a stick or switch to keep the spirits at bay.”

Thai folklore: In order to be protected against bad luck, charms and amulets for bringing luck or for protection are popular in Thailand. Some of these are tied around the body or worn as a necklace, while others come in the form of yantra tattooing. The yantra endows the wearer with supernatural protection, love, health, and wealth. In order to bring luck and provide protection, yants are also drawn in the receptions of multinational companies, the entrances of supermarkets, and the interiors of taxis, trucks, and airplanes.[2]

Thai folklore: In shops and houses, often next to a shelf with a Buddha statuette, charms for attracting customers are hung. These include printed pieces of cloth of fish-shaped figures, as well as streamers or framed pictures of a crocodile or of Suvannamaccha, the mermaid character of the Siamese version of the Ramayana. Some of these charms have their origin in the culture of the Thai Chinese, as Phraya Anuman Rajadhon observed, but they have been adopted by the Thai people, often with changes.[1]

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_folklore

Thai folklore:

Miscellaneous folk beliefs

Superstitions of the Thai people include:

  • Auspicious dates. Identification of auspicious dates and moments is common in Thai culture. This is especially important when setting a wedding date, as well as when building a house or purchasing a car.[1]
  • Lucky numbers. Divination techniques are often used to predict numbers before buying a lottery ticket.”

Thai folklore:

  • Cutting one’s hair or fingernails. Wednesday is regarded as a highly inauspicious day for having a haircut.
  • Shapes on the moon. In Thai folk belief the dark spots on the moon, the lunar maria, form either a rabbit shape or the shape of a man and a woman pounding rice.”

Thai folklore:

  • Little fish hanging. A poor person who cannot afford to buy fish may hang a little fish, or a picture of a fish, from the ceiling of his home while eating rice.
  • Gecko. The chirping sounds of different species of geckos native to Thailand have different interpretations according to the moment and occasion. Also, if a gecko happens to fall on or near someone in a home or veranda, it has a meaning which is auspicious or inauspicious depending on the side on which it falls.”

Thai folklore:

  • Auspicious colors. Since certain colors may be auspicious for certain persons, much thought is given to the color of a car before acquiring it. Also in the case of taxicabs certain colors that are deemed unlucky will be avoided. Taxicabs in Bangkok come in various colors and formerly a number of taxis were violet, but these have been repainted in recent years for violet was considered an unlucky color, both by cabdrivers and customers.
  • Rainbow. A rainbow is held in high regard and it is important to avoid pointing at it because one would lose one’s finger.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_folklore

Thai folklore:

Deities

  • Nang Kwak  is a benevolent female deity that brings luck to business owners and attracts customers. She is widely considered the patron of traders and shopkeepers and can be seen in almost every business establishment in Thailand.[3]
  • Phi Fa  is an ancient deity of Isan folklore. In her malevolent aspect she is related to Phosop.
  • Phosop  is the traditional and ancient rice goddess of Thailand. She is part of very ancient Thai folklore rather than of the mainstream Buddhist religion.[1] In order to propitiate her during the different stages of the harvest, ritual offerings known as Cha Laeo used to be periodically made in villages and hamlets in rural areas.[4]
  • Kuman Thong, represented as the effigy of a young boy, is believed to bring good luck.

Thai folklore:

Spirits and ghosts

Spirits or ghosts are known generically as phi (??) and they may be found, among other places, in certain trees, burial grounds near Buddhist temples, some houses, as well as mountains and forests. The Phi Pan Nam Range , “The mountain range of the spirits dividing the waters” that divides the Mekong from the Chao Phraya watershed, is named after the ancient spirits believed to dwell in the mountains.”

Thai folklore:

Spirits and ghosts

Spirit houses, known as san phra phum  in Thai language, are small shrines to provide a home for the tutelary spirits of a place. They are common near trees and groves and in urban areas, close to buildings. It is considered a bad omen to neglect these spots and offerings are regularly made by people living nearby.[5]

The local beliefs regarding the nocturnal village spirits of Thailand were studied by Phraya Anuman Rajadhon. Most spirits were traditionally not represented in paintings or drawings, hence they are purely based on stories of the oral tradition.[6]

Thai folklore:

Spirits and ghosts

Thai cinema, Thai television soap operas and Thai comics have contributed to popularize the spirits and legends of the folklore of Thailand. Phraya Anuman Rajadhon established that most of the contemporary iconography of folk ghosts[7][8][9] has its origins in Thai films that have become classics.[10]

Thai folklore:

Spirits and ghosts

Most of the spirits or ghosts are so popular they appear regularly in comic books as well as in films, including the Nak animated movie for children. The most well-known are the following:

  • Chao Kam Nai Wen, the spirit of a person with whom one has previously interacted, usually appearing as a spirit who sitting on someone’s back
  • Krahang, a male ghost that flies in the night
  • Krasue, a woman’s head with her viscera hanging down from the neck”

Thai folklore:

Spirits and ghosts

  • Mae Nak, a female ghost who died at childbirth and that can extend her arms
  • Phi Am, a spirit that sits on a person’s chest during the night
  • Phi Hua Khat, a headless male ghost that carries his head”

Thai folklore:

Spirits and ghosts

  • Phi Phraya, a female ghost living in the water
  • Phi Phong, a malevolent male ghost having an unpleasant smell. It lives in dark places under the vegetation
  • Phi Pop, a malevolent female spirit that devours human entrails”

Thai folklore:

Spirits and ghosts

  • Phi Song Nang, female ghosts that first lure, and then attack and kill young men
  • Phi Tai Hong, the ghost of a person who suffered a sudden violent or cruel death
  • Phi Tai Thong Klom, the wrathful ghost of a woman having committed suicide after being made pregnant and subsequently betrayed and abandoned by her lover”

Thai folklore:

Spirits and ghosts

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_folklore

Thai folklore: Festivals

Some traditional celebrations, including Buddhist festivals, provide an opportunity for the expression of local folk beliefs.

Thai folklore: Folk tales

Folk tales and legends in Thailand were used by elders to instill beliefs in the younger generation. Most stories contain moral lessons teaching the importance of following traditions and to display reverence to elders, parents, and superiors. The stories of the spirit world taught children to be cautious, to stay at home at night, and to respect customs regarding death rituals and the importance of offerings.”

Thai folklore: Folk tales

Many Thai folk tales are based on the texts of Buddhism. Also some of the stories of classical Thai literature, such as Khun Chang Khun Phaen and Lilit Phra Lo, a story about young lovers with a tragic end,[11] originated in folk tales. Phra Aphai Mani is a Thai epic poem that has inspired local folklore.

Throughout Thailand there are also local folk stories connected with particular geographic features, such as the story of Doi Nang Non, the “Mountain of the Sleeping Lady” and the legend about the formation of Khao Sam Roi Yot mountains and islands.[12]

Thai folklore: Buddhist folk tradition

See also: Buddhism in Thailand

The Jataka tales, such as the Vessantara Jataka, the Twelve Sisters, and Prince Samuttakote (Samuddaghosa), have provided inspiration to Thai traditional storytellers. These Jatakas have been often retold, abridged, and adapted to fit local culture in Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Indonesia. As a consequence, they have become so familiar to average people that they fully belong to the folklore of their respective country. Often each country claims the story as its own cultural achievement. Thailand is no exception.[13]

Thai folklore: Buddhist folk tradition

Sang Thong (Suvannasankhaj taka), where the marriage between a man and a woman of different social status is the main subject of the story,[14] and Honwichai and Kawi are also long traditional stories. The “Woodcutter who lost his Axe” is a well-liked Thai tale with a moral lesson promoting honesty.[15]

Sri Thanonchai is a trickster which tricks people with his word.”

Thai folklore: Buddhist folk tradition

Many figures of the Buddhist tradition have been fully incorporated into Thai lore, among these are the yaksa, ogres (yaksha), and ogresses (Pali: Yakkhini), the tall and scary Prets,[16] Ongkhuliman, the violent criminal named after the garland of the fingers of his victims he wore around his neck, as well as Nariphon, the mythical tree of Buddhist literature bearing fruits in the shape of young girls.

Vivid descriptions of the torments of hell,[17] sometimes in the form of garish sculptures, are to be found in some Buddhist temples in Thailand.[18] These representations are so popular that, along with figures of local spirits, they have become a regular feature in present-day Thai comics.[19]

Thai folklore: Animals in folklore

The mynah is featured in some tales for its ability to talk and imitate sounds. The “Hen and her six chicks”, explaining the origin of the Pleiades, “The White Crows” and tales with elephants such as “The Elephant, the Monkey and the Quail”, and “The Elephants and the Bees”[15] are common folk tales, some of which are based on the Panchatantra.[20]

Thai folklore: Animals in folklore

Snakes are part of the Thai popular lore, and depending on the background of the tale or myth, they have different meanings. Nak, Nagas figure in some stories of local folklore and are represented as well in Buddhist temples as architectural elements. Male lust is often popularly represented as a snake growing on top of the head of the lustful man.[21] Thai folk mythology also includes the idea of a link between snakes and women. Some stories based on snakes have been made into Thai movies.[22]

Thai folklore: Folk art and craft

The articles listed below are an essential part of Thai folklore. Some were articles of daily household use in rural areas.

  • Kan Tam Khao, the long wooden pestle of a traditional manual rice pounder.[23]
  • Mo Khao. A traditional Thai clay pot widely used formerly to cook rice. It is also used in ceremonies to invoke spirits as well as to capture evil ghosts and banish them.[24]

Thai folklore: Folk art and craft

  • Kradong, a round rice winnowing basket. The large ones are known as Kradong Mon.[25] Phi Krahang uses two large winnowing baskets to fly in the night.
  • Prakham, the Buddhist prayer beads. Witch doctors usually wear a necklace of beads.”

Thai folklore: Thai Buddha amulet

Thai Buddha amulet is a kind of Thai Buddhist blessed item. It is used for raising funds in order to help the temple producing the amulets. Worshippers can obtain an amulets or Thai Buddhist monk blessing by simply donating money or offering oil to the temple. After the donation, Thai Buddhist monk will give amulet as a gift to them. With the change of time, amulet no longer simply means as a “gift” , but a kind of tool to help enhance luck in different aspects, some people use amulets to improve marriage, wealth, health, love and people relationship.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_folklore

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Welcome To My Beloved Country, Thailand part 13

Photograph by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

I went to Thailand to visit my family for two months, from July and August 2017.  I did not visit home since 2006.  I was glad to see my family.  I enjoyed seeing all new development in Bangkok and loved eating authentic Thai food, especially Thai fruits.

I had a chance to visit my home town, Lopburi, where I was raised when I was young, before we moved to Bangkok.  I traveled to Ayutthaya to see the ruins of temples that were burned by Burmese soldiers, when the Burmese wanted to take over Thailand, The Burmese–Siamese War (1765–1767).  Ayutthaya was one of the former capitals of Thailand before moved to, Thonburi and then Bangkok.  I also traveled to, Chiang Mai, located in the Northern part of Thailand.  Chiang Mai is the second largest and second most popular city of Thailand.

John, my husband came to Thailand in August.  He joined me traveling to different part of Thailand.  I had a good time taking videos and photographs wherever I traveled around Bangkok and other part of Thailand.  I hope the viewers of my website will enjoy the photographs that I present in these projects.

Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Worshiper and the Thai Classical dancers perform for Pra Phrom (The four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thai land

Culture of Thailand

Thailand’s culture has evolved greatly over time, from the country’s pre-globalization time in Sukhothai era, to its more contemporary Ayutthaya era, which absorbs influences from all over Asia. Strong Indian, Chinese and other Southeast Asian influences are still evident in traditional Thai culture up until the modern Rattanakosin era.[1] Buddhism and Animism also play a significant role in shaping the culture.

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Thailand

Sport in Thailand:

Muay Thai (Thai: ??????, RTGS: Muai Thai,  [muaj t?aj], lit. “Thai boxing”) is a native form of kickboxing and Thailand’s signature sport. It incorporates kicks, punches, knees and elbow strikes in a ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing and this has led to Thailand gaining medals at the Olympic Games in boxing.”

Sport in Thailand:

Association football has overtaken muay Thai as the most widely followed sport in contemporary Thai society. Thailand national football team has played the AFC Asian Cup six times and reached the semifinals in 1972. The country has hosted the Asian Cup twice, in 1972 and in 2007. The 2007 edition was co-hosted together with Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. It is not uncommon to see Thais cheering their favourite English Premier League teams on television and walking around in replica kit. Another widely enjoyed pastime, and once a competitive sport, is kite flying.”

Sport in Thailand:

Takraw (Thai: ??????) is a sport native to Thailand, in which the players hit a rattan ball and are only allowed to use their feet, knees, chest, and head to touch the ball. Sepak takraw is a form of this sport which is similar to volleyball. The players must volley a ball over a net and force it to hit the ground on the opponent’s side. It is also a popular sport in other countries in Southeast Asia. A rather similar game but played only with the feet is Buka ball.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Thailand

“Architecture:

Phra Maha Chedi Si Ratchakan at Wat Pho, Bangkok.

Main articles: Architecture of Thailand, Thai temple art and architecture, and Traditional Thai house

The Major part of the country’s cultural legacy and reflects both the challenges of living in Thailand’s sometimes extreme climate as well as, historically, the importance of architecture to the Thai people’s sense of community and religious beliefs. Influenced by the architectural traditions of many of Thailand’s neighbors, it has also developed significant regional variation within its vernacular and religious buildings.”

“Architecture:

Buddhist temples in Thailand are known as “wats“, from the P??i v??a, meaning an enclosure. A temple has an enclosing wall that divides it from the secular world. Wat architecture has seen many changes in Thailand in the course of history. Although there are many differences in layout and style, they all adhere to the same principles.”

“Architecture:

As the phrase “Thai stilt house” suggests, one universal aspect of Thailand’s traditional architecture is the elevation of its buildings on stilts, most commonly to around head height. The area beneath the house is used for storage, crafts, lounging in the daytime, and sometimes for livestock. The houses were raised due to heavy flooding during certain parts of the year, and in more ancient times, predators. Thai building and living habits are often based on superstitious and religious beliefs. Many other considerations such as locally available materials, climate, and agriculture have a lot to do with the style.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Thailand

Traditional games of Thailand:

“Kratai kha deow” or “one-legged rabbit” is a type of catch game. The catcher will call the rabbit, and the rabbit must stand on one leg and jump or tiptoe to catch the other players and switch to rabbit instead. This game will exercise your legs and practice balancing on one leg. The number of players are divided into two teams, or may not have a team at all. Normally, there are two or more players. At the first time, the player will select the rabbit or team by “rock-paper-scissors”. The loser would have to be a rabbit.

In the case of solo player, the rabbit must stand on one leg, then jump to chase and touch any part of the body of other children who have run away. Everyone must stay within the designated area. A player who runs out of space loses the game and must be switched to rabbit, but if the rabbit is exhausted and cannot stand on one leg, it was that defeated and must be punished.

In team play, the rules are similar to the solo player, but the rabbit team will send a representative to catch the other team to all the people. Those arrested will have to wait outside until the rabbit team can catch all of the rival teams. Rabbit team can switch to teammates to catch on until they are exhausted, and if the all of the members in rabbit team are exhausted and cannot stand on one leg, the rabbit team lose the game and must be punished too.”

Traditional games of Thailand:

Banana stalk hobby horse riding

Banana stalk hobby horse riding or “khee ma khan kluay” in Thai is a traditional game of Thailand that Thai kids frequently played in the past. They use a banana stalk to make the parts of a horse such as head, ear, and horsetail. The materials for making a banana rib hobby horse are banana stalk, knife, small bamboo pin, and string. First, find a banana stalk around 1.5 m long. Cut it in the form of the head, neck, and ears, then use a small bamboo pin to connect the ear to the head of a horse. The remaining part of the banana stalk becomes a horsetail. Attach a string between the head and the tail of this banana stalk horse and place on the shoulder of the rider.

Kids sit on the horse and pretend they are riding a real horse, shouting “hee hee” or “yee haaah”, sounds typical of people on horseback. They may race with friends if they have more than two players. The team that runs faster is the winner.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Thailand

Public holidays in Thailand:

Important holidays in Thai culture include Thai New Year, or Songkran,[16] which is officially observed from 13–15 April each year. Falling at the end of the dry season and during the hot season in Thailand, the celebrations notoriously feature boisterous water throwing. The water throwing stemmed from washing Buddha images and lightly sprinkling scented water on the hands of elderly people. Small amounts of scented talcum powder were also used in the annual cleansing rite. In recent decades, water fights have been increasingly industrialised with use of hoses, barrels, squirt guns, water-filled surgical tubing, and copious amounts of powder.”

Public holidays in Thailand:

Loi Krathong is held on the 12th full moon of the Thai lunar calendar, usually early-November. While not a government-observed holiday, it is nonetheless an auspicious day in Thai culture, in which Thai people “loi”, meaning “to float” a “krathong”, a small raft traditionally made from elaborately folded banana leaves and including flowers, candles, incense sticks, and small offerings. The act of floating away the candle raft is symbolic of letting go of all one’s grudges, anger, and defilements so that one can start life afresh on a better footing.”

Public holidays in Thailand:

National Elephant Day or Chang Thai Day is a holiday in Thailand, held on March 13, which celebrates the cultural and historical significance of the elephant in Thailand.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Thailand

The Thai Classical dancers perform for Pra Phrom (The four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

A Worshipper and Thai Classical dancers perform for Pra Phrom (The four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

Photograph by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

“People offer prayers and seek blessings at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand. The Erawan Shrine is a Hindu shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, that houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu creation god Brahma. A popular tourist attraction, it often features performances by resident Thai dance troupes, who are hired by worshippers in return for seeing their prayers at the shrine answered.”

For more information please visit the following link:

Travel & Events

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeZF_mpFbgM

The Worshippers offer flowers and others items to Pra Phrom (The four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

Photograph by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

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Welcome To My Beloved Country, Thailand part 11

Photograph by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

I went to Thailand to visit my family for two months, from July and August 2017.  I did not visit home since 2006.  I was glad to see my family.  I enjoyed seeing all new development in Bangkok and loved eating authentic Thai food, especially Thai fruits.

I had a chance to visit my home town, Lopburi, where I was raised when I was young, before we moved to Bangkok.  I traveled to Ayutthaya to see the ruins of temples that were burned by Burmese soldiers, when the Burmese wanted to take over Thailand, The Burmese–Siamese War (1765–1767).  Ayutthaya was one of the former capitals of Thailand before moved to, Thonburi and then Bangkok.  I also traveled to, Chiang Mai, located in the Northern part of Thailand.  Chiang Mai is the second largest and second most popular city of Thailand.

John, my husband came to Thailand in August.  He joined me traveling to different part of Thailand.  I had a good time taking videos and photographs wherever I traveled around Bangkok and other part of Thailand.  I hope the viewers of my website will enjoy the photographs that I present in these projects.

Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Thursday, October 26, 2017

Worshiper at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

“Erawan Shrine in Bangkok is Brahman, not strictly Buddhist. And yet, this famous shrine attracts more visitors than many of the city’s temples. It was erected during the mid 1950s, after the Thai government had decided to build the luxury Erawan Hotel on this location. However, the first stages of the construction were beset with so many problems that superstitious labourers refused to continue unless the land spirits were appeased. After consultations with astrologers, the erection of a shrine to honour the four-faced Brahma God, Than Tao Mahaprom, was considered to be an auspicious solution. A magnificent image of the Brahma God was especially cast and gilded, and The Erawan Hotel opened to acclaims and worldwide fame for three decades. Towards the end, the property could not compete with more modern facilities, and was replaced by the privately owned Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok in 1991. As the shrine was originally constructed to grace the old Erawan Hotel, the location became known as the Erawan Shrine.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://www.bangkok.com/shrines/erawan-shrine.htm#

Phra Phrom (The four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

“Worshippers of the god usually offer incense, candles, jasmine flowers or jasmine garlands and young coconut milk (with water in them) in their worship, usually placing these offerings before all four heads of Phra Phrom, each head representing a different aspect of the deity; it is believed each side of Phra Phrom offers different blessings. Another common way of worship is to place wooden elephant statues on the altar to honor him. Phra Phrom is also known to admire Thai classical music, which is played near larger scale outdoor altars, accompanied by dancers. For a small fee, the dancers include worshiper’s name into the songs they sing while dancing. Worshipers of Phra Phrom are also usually advised to abstain from consuming meat. It is also believed that worshipers have to make good on any promises made to the deity else misfortune will befall them instead of the fortune that was asked for. Items needed for prayers are available in the premises of the shrine.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phra_Phrom

Phra Phrom (The four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

“Phra Phrom (Thai: ???????; from Sanskrit:Brahma, ??????) is the Thai representation of the Hindu god Brahma (the god of the manifested world),[1] who is regarded in Thai culture as a deity of good fortune and protection. According to puranas, Brahma has four faces representing four Vedas or knowledge coming from four directions: north, south, east and west[2]. Phra Phrom is colloquially known outside Thailand as the Four-Faced Awakening (???, Sìmiànfó) or Four-Faced God (??? Simianshen). Among Chinese folk religious worshipers, among whom the faith of this god has spread in the latest decades by assimilating Brahma as Buddist deva Brahma.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phra_Phrom

Phra Phrom (The four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

“Spread of the cult among Chinese

As early as the 1980s, the popularity of the Erawan cult of Brahma from its inceptions in Thailand spread, accompanied by faithful reproduction of the structure of the shrine and the image, among overseas Chinese in other countries of Southeast Asia (Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia), in Taiwan, and in China, with shrines established in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Chinese call Brahma colloquially the “Four-Faced Buddha” (??? Simianfo).”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phra_Phrom

Elephant Statues used as adornment at the Worship of Phra Phrom (the four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

Photograph by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

 “Cultural depictions of elephants

Elephants have been depicted in mythology, symbolism and popular culture. They are both revered in religion and respected for their prowess in war. They also have negative connotations such as being a symbol for an unnecessary burden. Ever since the stone age, when elephants were represented by ancient petroglyphs and cave art, they have been portrayed in various forms of art, including pictures, sculptures, music, film, and even architecture.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_elephants

Elephant Statues used as adornment at the Worship of Phra Phrom (the four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

 “The Asian elephant appears in various religious traditions and mythologies. They are treated positively and are sometimes revered as deities, often symbolising strength and wisdom. Similarly, the African elephant is seen as the wise chief who impartially settles disputes among the forest creatures in African fables,[2] and the Ashanti tradition holds that they are human chiefs from the past.[3]

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_elephants

Elephant Statues used as adornment at the Worship of Phra Phrom (the four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

“The Earth is supported and guarded by mythical World Elephants at the compass points of the cardinal directions, according to the Hindu cosmology of ancient India. The classical Sanskrit literature also attributes earthquakes to the shaking of their bodies when they tire. Wisdom is represented by the elephant in the form of the deity Ganesh, one of the most popular gods in the Hindu religion‘s pantheon. Sometimes known as Ganesha, this deity is very distinctive in having a human form with the head of an elephant. This was put on after the human head was either was cut off or burned, depending on the version of the story from various Hindu sources. Lord Ganesha’s birthday (rebirth) is celebrated as the Hindu festival known as Ganesha Chaturthi.[4] In Japanese Buddhism, their adaptation of Ganesha is known as Kangiten (“Deva of Bliss”), often represented as an elephant-headed male and female pair shown in a standing embrace to represent unity of opposites.[5]

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_elephants

Elephant Statues used as adornment at the Worship of Phra Phrom (the four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

“In Hindu iconography, many devas are associated with a mount or vehicle known as a v?hana. In addition to providing a means of transport, they symbolically represent a divine attribute. The elephant v?hana represents wisdom, divine knowledge and royal power; it is associated with Lakshmi, Brihaspati, Shachi and Indra. Indra was said to ride on a flying white elephant named Airavata, who was made the King of all elephants by Lord Indra. A white elephant is rare and given special significance. It is often considered sacred and symbolises royalty in Thailand and Burma, where it is also considered a symbol of good luck. In Buddhist iconography, the elephant is associated with Queen M?y? of Sakya, the mother of Gautama Buddha. She had a vivid dream foretelling her pregnancy in which a white elephant featured prominently.[6] To the royal sages, the white elephant signifies royal majesty and authority; they interpreted the dream as meaning that her child was destined for greatness as a universal monarch or a buddha.[7]

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_elephants

Elephant Statues used as adornment at the Worship of Phra Phrom (the four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

“Elephants remain an integral part of religion in South Asia and some are even featured in various religious practices.[8] Temple elephants are specially trained captive elephants that are lavishly caparisoned and used in various temple activities. Among the most famous of the temple elephants is Guruvayur Keshavan of Kerala, India. They are also used in festivals in Sri Lanka such as the Esala Perahera.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_elephants

Elephant Statues used as adornment at the Worship of Phra Phrom (the four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

“In the version of the Chinese zodiac used in Northern Thailand, the last year in the 12-year cycle – called “Year of the Pig” in China – is known instead as “Year of the Elephant”, reflecting the importance of elephants in Thai culture.

In Islamic tradition, the year 570 is when the Prophet Muhammad was born and is known as the Year of the Elephant.[9] In that year, Abraha, ruler of Yemen tried to conquer Mecca and demolish the Kaaba, reportedly in retaliation for the previous Meccan defilement of Al–Qalis Church in Sana’a, a cathedral Abraha had constructed.[10] However, his plan was foiled when his white elephant named Mahmud refused to cross the boundary of Mecca. The elephant, who led Abraha’s forty thousand men, could not be persuaded with reason or even with violence, which was regarded as a crucial omen by Abraha’s soldiers. This is generally related in the five verses of the chapter titled ‘The Elephant[b] in the Quran.[11]

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_elephants

Elephant Statues used as adornment at the Worship of Phra Phrom (the four-faced Brahma God) at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

“In the Judeo-Christian tradition, medieval artists depicted the mutual killing of both Eleazar the Maccabee and a war elephant carrying an important Seleucid general as described in the apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees. The early illustrators knew little of the elephant and their portrayals are highly inaccurate.[12]

The unfamiliarity with the exotic beast has also made elephants a subject of widely different interpretations thus giving rise to mythological creatures. The story of the blind men and an elephant was written to show how reality may be viewed from differing perspectives. The source of this parable is unknown, but it appears to have originated in India. It has been attributed to Buddhists, Hindus, Jainists, and Sufis, and was also used by Discordians. The scattered skulls of prehistoric dwarf elephants, on the islands of Crete and Sicily may have formed the basis of belief in existence of cyclopes,[c] the one-eyed giants featured in Homer‘s Odyssey (c. 800~600 BC). As early as the 1370s, scholars had noted that the skulls feature a large nasal cavity at the front that could be mistaken for a singular eye socket;[13] and the skulls, twice the size of a human’s, looked as if they could belong to giant humanoids.[13][14] It is also suggested that the Behemoth described in the Book of Job may be the elephant due to its grazing habits and preference to rivers.[15]

For more information please visit the following link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_elephants

The worshipers pay the dancers to dance for the Brahma God at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand

Photograph by Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts

“Than Tao Mahaprom is a Brahma god, full of kindness, mercy, sympathy and impartiality. These four virtues are represented by his four faces, each radiating serene grace. Since Buddhism in Thailand has always been influenced by the Brahma beliefs, he made an immediate impact. Nowadays, as has been the case for years, unending streams of people pay respects from early morning till late at night. Thais, and even foreign visitors, make ceremonial offerings from floral garlands, fruits to teakwood elephants in the hope that their wishes will be fulfilled. Judging from the flowing multitude of believers, for many those wishes were indeed granted. Cash contributions are managed by a foundation who distributes funds regularly to various charitable organisations and equipment for needy hospitals in the provinces. To feel the aura of reverence while watching the joyful celebration of a graceful Thai Classical Dance troupe or a lively Chinese Lion Dance is an experience to be added to your many memories of exotic Bangkok.”

For more information please visit the following link:

https://www.bangkok.com/shrines/erawan-shrine.htm#

RATE FOR DANCING

NUMBER OF DANCERS                         AMOUNT OF MONEY

8                                                        710 BAHTS (ABOUT $24)

6                                                        610 BAHTS (ABOUT $20)

4                                                        360 BAHTS (ABOUT $12)

2                                                        260 BAHTS (ABOUT $9.70)

Ing’s comments,

How we are taught to believe:

This person just bought a small cage that keeps the life birds for sale.  She is going to free the birds. 

She is freeing the birds in a small cage.  She probably prays or wish that her trouble will go away or wish for her good fortune.  I just hope that the poor birds will not get trapped again to be in the same confinement from the poor low-income people who captured them.  However, I am not sure, it might be a rich person who traps the birds and distributes them for sale to different locations for the believers to buy birds to free for their wishes or some kind of merit. 

I probably would do the same if I were live in Thailand.  People tend to do the same as other people in one’s own social believe, until someone points out and tells you to analyze the situation.  Then you may see a different view point, or you may not.  But staying outside of one own society for a period of time, one has a chance to look back, and allow yourself to think more about what we are taught to believe.

Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Monday, November 13, 2017

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