Thai Culture And Relationships (Part 1) Rss feed Twitter button Facebook button

Interracial relationships are common in most communities. In any relationship compatibility, companionship, communication, intimacy, understanding, forgiving and willingness to compromise are important factors that make the relationship last.

In every interracial relationship, culture is a condition that can't be overlooked.

Culture is reflected in a country's customs, social conduct, ceremonies, festivities, traditional costumes, cuisines and music, etc. Since culture has evolved in society for centuries, it becomes deeply rooted in the members of that society. This strongly affects their values, beliefs and judgments.

Thai culture has developed for over 600 years and it plays a predominant part of Thai life. In Thai society, there are a lot of social codes and traditions. Further, the vast majority of Thais love their foods and traditions.

Westerners Living In Thailand

Most Westerners, as visitors to Thailand, find Thai culture really charming. On the contrary, a Westerner living in Thailand who's surrounded by Thai families, can find Thai culture quite challenging and difficult to adjust to.

Over time, he or she will learn more and more about the customs practiced in his or her partner's family. Many customs may be unheard of and don't make any sense at all. Due to the numerous differences between the two people and cultures, at one point the Westerner may find the situation unbearable.

As a result the Westerner may become edgy. Then, all it takes is a small remark to create a big drama...

If you're an independent person and would like to have a Thai partner, you may be interested in knowing how Thai culture could affect your relationship. You might not notice much of it if you live outside of Thailand. But if you're planning to live in Thailand, among your partner's Thai family, it could be most helpful to learn about Thai culture.

With a better understanding of Thai culture, you can avoid experiencing a culture shock or being trapped between two cultures, which can cause a lot of frustration and tension in your relationship. So, let's take a look at the essence of Thai culture:

Privacy And Personal Space

Most Thais don't understand privacy and personal space the way Westerners do. While Western couples tend to spend a lot of time alone, Thai couples spend more time with their families.

Thai families enjoy spending time together
Marrying a Thai is like getting married to a whole family. This saying holds true considering that Thai families like to spend time together; for example eating, shopping, going on excursions or holidays.

The scene of big Thai families traveling together is really common in Thailand, especially in rural areas.

In Thai families, there are usually a lot of people around at all times.

It could be the grand parents, aunts, cousins and neighbors. While living in a Thai family, a Westerner may feel a need for more personal space, while most Thais find it warm and enjoyable.

Social Activities

The family is the heart of Thai culture
Social events form an important part of Thai life and take up a lot of our time. Weddings, monk ordinations and funerals are the most common formal social gathering in Thailand. Among these three, it's more important to attend funerals. One can be excused when being unable to attend a wedding or an ordination.

On the contrary, not attending a funeral, particularly on the day of cremation, could be viewed as improper and even rude. For example, not going to a relative's funeral could mean that you don't consider the relative your family.

Likewise, not attending a friend's funeral could mean that you don't consider her your friend.

Surprise Visits

Stopping by at a friend's or family member's home, without giving advance notice, is a common practice in Thailand. Thais see it as a nice gesture to visit family and friends when they happen to be in the neighborhood. The visitors often bring along gifts such as foods and desserts.

Thai Society

Thailand is a hierarchical society and we have a lot of respect for anyone who's senior to us. Thais especially appreciate and respect people like teachers, civil servants, doctors, monks and the royal family. These individuals contribute a lot to Thai society, therefore we respect and honor them.

Respect For Elderly

Thais show a great deal of respect for elderly. But why is that? If we were to compare a human to a car, Thais wouldn't judge the car by its mileage and appearance. That would only show how old it is.

Instead, we pay attention to the number of places the vehicle has been to and the people that have traveled with it.

Thais look at elders in a similar way. We don't really mind about their physical appearance and wit, but we value what they have experienced and accomplished in life.

Since they were born long before us, they have gathered much more experience than we have. As a result, they are like walking encyclopedias. We can learn all sorts of things from their life lessons, such as how to lead a happy and meaningful life.

This is why we give them credit, importance and respect.

How Thais Show Respect To Elders

Thais show respect to elders by behaving in certain ways. Here are some common examples:

- Lowering the head while greeting them

- Lowering the body a little when talking to them or while walking past them

- Sitting down at a lower level or at the same level as them

- Welcoming and caring for them when they visit you

- Talking to them in a polite way

- Listening to them without cutting them off

- Refraining from arguing whenever you disagree with their opinions

- Listening to their suggestions

Caring For Parents

Nursing homes is a new concept to Thais, although it's becoming increasingly common in big cities.

Unlike in the U.S. and many other Western countries, children live with their parents until they get married.

In today's society, it's more common that high school and college students are allowed to move out and study away from home. Modern families also prefer to build their homes, away from their parents, for more privacy.

Those who remain single continue to live with the parents. This way they can care for their parents when they get too old to care for themselves.

Between sons and daughters, it's assumed that the daughters will care for the parents when they get old. Since the daughters are considered more caring and more familiar with home making.

In Thailand, a man is expected to be the bread winner of his family. As a result, his family doesn't expect him to spend a lot of time caring for his parents.

Family Support

Thais have very strong family connections. Members of the family, especially the oldest child or the one with the best economy, would normally help each other during difficult times. The help usually comes in the form of money, to pay for the younger sisters and brothers schooling, parents' hospital bills, or home mortgages, for example.

Souvenir Buying Culture

Thais are known to be generous. In addition, it's a common practice to buy souvenirs to friends and family members while on holiday. When we travel, we would normally buy some souvenirs for people at home or friends at work. This is why you always can see fruits and food stalls along the highways between cities or in souvenir shops at gas stations.
Food souvenirs are popular gifts in Thailand

The most popular souvenirs in Thailand are food souvenirs which ranges from fresh fruits that are common in a particular province, such as sweet tamarind from Petchaboon, dried seafood from various seaside provinces, desserts such as Thai coconut milk with palm-sugar custard khanom moh gaeng from Phetchaburi or pork sausage with herbs sai-oa from Chiang Mai.

Food shopping is a big thing in Thailand. It's a custom that both the buyer and the receiver enjoy.

Here's the link to Thai Culture And Relationships (Part 2)...

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