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The Moon In Thai Culture

22nd Sep 2017

By Wellness Expert and Spa Director, Lina Lotto.
 
To live in Thailand one must have a good memory for not only do Thai natives have a birth first name, they also have nicknames, and to complicate matters even more Thailand has two calendars running alongside one another. These calendars are called the Solar and Lunar, each with a specific focus (The Thai calendar is lunisolar). For example our current year 2017 in the Thai lunar calendar equals BE 2560 (Buddhist Era).
 
King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) who is considered to be a progressive and reforming ruler introduced the solar calendar in 1888 which is based on our Gregorian system. It served to align Siamese mundane events with those of Europe.
 
The solar calendar is used for commercial purposes and everyday events and aligns with the way time is marked throughout most of the modern world. The lunar calendar is used for more spiritually and traditionally focused events that relate to the Buddhist religion. For example, Thai birth certificates record the date, month and time of birth, followed by the day of the week, lunar date, and the applicable animal name in the Thai zodiac.
 
In most ancient societies the moon was important, as a deity and also for marking time. Crops would be planted and harvested by the phases of the moon, auspicious times determined by astrological calendars governed by the silvery orb. Buddhists believe that events in the life of Lord Buddha took place on full moon days and as such the full moon is celebrated with the practice of meditation and focus on spiritual development.
 
The Moon In Thai Culture | SenSpa
 
Thailand is known for its full moon parties but the genesis of these modern events relate back to the moon calendar denoting important celebratory events in the year. Loi Krathong, a famous annual festival, is determined by the date of the full moon and so the date changes each year. This normally falls within the month of November.
 
At this time large numbers of people gather at rivers, ponds, lakes and float little boats, usually made of natural materials such as banana leaves, with candles atop. Incense and sometimes coins are placed onboard. The idea is that you float all your negativity and anger away and begin your life anew in a much better state and you might also make a wish.
 
My first Loi Krathong was spent on a boat on the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok with friends. We gently floated downriver marvelling at the myriad of little lights bobbing up and down on the waters with the full moon reflected. Thousands of people lined the river bank. It was so magical that I had no doubt my wish would be granted.
 
It is said that the origins of Loi Krathong are in the Indian festival of Diwali as a thanksgiving festival to the River Ganges. In Thailand the Goddess of water is Phra Mae Khongkha and honouring her is supposed to bring good luck.
 
Whatever the origins it is a hugely popular festival bringing those who pay tribute to the water the opportunity of revitalisation.

 
Escape to Thailand with the jet lag at SenSpa and relax on heated seats beneath twinkling lights, surrounded by the sounds of the calming waters of the hydrotherapy facilities. 

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The Moon In Thai Culture | SenSpa | Hampshire

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