Symbols of Thailand

What would you say the symbol of your country is? One of my students came up to me the other day and asked what is the symbol of England. I couldn’t really think of any one symbol. Certainly not an official one. My student suggested Big Ben which is partly true but that is really a national icon. Something that represents the country. In the Amerian movies, if they want to show their audience that the movie is now set in England they will show Big Ben or the Tower of London.

What about Thailand? What would you say are the symbols of this country? This is a question I ask my students every year. I usually get the ball rolling by suggesting “tuk tuk” and “elephant”. We then brainstorm more ideas and write them on the blackboard. We end up with 45 symbols and the students then have to pick one each to write about. Here are some of the symbols they came up with:

1. Thai flag
2. Elephant
3. Thai smile
4. Thai manners
5. Thai music
6. Thai language
7. "Wai"
8. Thai games
9. Food
10. Loy Krathong
11. Songkran
12. OTOP
13. Thai temples
14. Thai houses
15. Thai fruit
16. Thai sweets
17. Jasmine garland
18. Thai clothes
19. Thai ghost
20. Thai musical instruments
21. Muay Thai
22. Takraw
23. Thai art
24. Thai Stories
25. Thai movies
26. Thai Dancing
27. Thai famers
28. Thai fisherman
29. Thai supermodel
30. Thai culture
31. Tuk tuk
32. Thai herbs
33. Buffalo
34. Horoscope
35. King and queen
36. Thai chess
37. Thai girl
38. Thai boy
39 Thai precious stones
40. Thai flowers
41. Thai dolls
42. Thai money
43. Thai kites
44. Thai soldiers
45. Thai market

I have five books now showing the Symbols of Thailand from a student’s point of view. A selection of these can be found on our school’s web site. We also have many more in English and Thai at the web site.

But what about the official symbols of Thailand? Well, recently, the Thai government agreed on three national symbols to represent the Kingdom: the elephant as the national animal, the golden shower flower (known in Thai as Ratchaphruek) as the national flower, and the pavilion as the national architectural symbol. Only one of those was on my students’ list.

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