Monthly Archives: July 2006

Thai 12 Year Animal Cycle

Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep – Important shrine for people born in the Year of the Goat

In Thailand, many people celebrate their birthday according to the 12 year cycle. This is similar to the Chinese system. This year it is is the Year of the Dog. Every twelve years people will have a special celebration either for a birthday or the anniversary on an important event. A few years ago, one of my ex-students invited me to his grandfather’s birthday. At the party, he told me to guess the age of his grandfather. He was surprised that I correctly guessed that his grandfather was 72 years old. This was easy to work out. I knew his grandfather wouldn’t invite me to just any birthday celebration as the older generation generally don’t celebrate birthdays. So, I deduced it must have been one of his 12 year cycles. I made an educated guess that this was his 6th cycle making him 72 years old. His Majesty the King recently had a grand celebration in 1999 for his 6th cycle.

Here are the years of the cycle with the animals associated with each year:

1. Year of the Rat – Bee Chuat
2. Year of the Ox (Bull) – Bee Chalu
3. Year of the Tiger – Bee Kahn
4. Year of the Rabbit (Hare) – Bee Toh
5. Year of the Dragon (Big snake) – Bee Marong
6. Year of the Snake – Bee Maseng
7. Year of the Horse – Bee Mamia
8. Year of the Goat – Bee Mamae
9. Year of the Monkey – Bee Wog
10. Year of the Rooster – Bee Raga
11. Year of the Dog – Bee Jor
12. Year of the Pig – Bee Goon

Spread around Thailand there are twelve temples which are considered important pilgrimage sites for each of the twelve years. On their 12th anniversary birthdays, people will go to the temple corresponding to the year of their birth in order to make extra special merit. I was born in the Year of the Goat, so that means I should go to Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai on my birthday in 2015. Earlier this year I made an effort to visit many of these important temples for our sister site at Over the coming days I will be telling you all about these sacred temples and shrines.

If you don’t know the animal sign for the year you were born, then click here.

Asian Blog Awards 2006

“Here is a map of  Thailand”

Our website has been nominated for the Asian Blogs Awards. Steve’s website has also been nominated. Visit to view the ten nominations for the Thailand section. You then choose which of the blogs you like the most.

The Nominees are:
Bangkok Street Dogs
Gregoire Glachant
Magnoy’s Samsara
Mango Sauce
Mekong Kurt
Steve Suphan
Stickman Weekly
Stu Towns
Thailand Diary

Hopefully you will choose our blogs as the best for this year! Make sure you go and vote now because there are only a few days left to do this. Thank you.

Old Siamese Costumes

The following was written in the 1850’s by Monsignor Jean-Baptiste Pallegoix.


(left) A Siamese woman of King Mongkut’s era (right) A Siamese man of King Mongkut’s era. Formerly they shaved their heads and only left a round spot on top of the head where they wore the hair sticking up like a brush. The women cut their hair short, instead of shaving them off and they wore the same circular hair tuft as the men.

The dress of the Siamese is very simple: they go about barefoot and without a hat. As their only dress they have a piece of painted Indian cloth they attach to their belts pulling back the two ends in the back (that is what is called a langouti). This way of dressing is common for both sexes. Moreover, young girls and women put around their necks a silk scarf so that one of the ends falls over the shoulder in the back; while the men are satisfied with a piece of white cloth they sometimes use as a belt, sometimes as a handkerchief, to wipe off sweat, sometimes in lieu of a turban to protect them from sun rays.

People of modest means rarely use an umbrella. Those high placed, on the contrary, always have one. The common people, men and women, use some kind of light basket made of palm leaves instead of a hat. When the lower ranking meet their masters, they must have a belt of silk around their wastes. The King and Princes do not at all differ from their subjects in the shape of their dress but only in the richness of dress and usually they wear Chinese sandals.


(left) A high-ranking Siamese from King Mongkut’s time (right) Two simaese from King Chulalongkorn’s time (1868-1910). Under the government of King Chulalongkorn the Siamese males and females wore their hair combed backwards without shaving any parts of their heads. While formerly only prominent women wore a breast shawl, after King Chulalongkorn returned from Europe, he issued a regulation that all women had to wear a shawl.

About THAT book

Hello Thai-blogs readers and the followers of the Gospel of the OakMonster.

I just want to drop in a line to say hi, I’m alive. I will be coming to Thailand on an unplanned visit in a few weeks. Still trying to find tickets at the moment.

There’s no problem going TO Bangkok from Los Angeles, but coming BACK is another story. You see, August is the month where all the Thai students hop on the planes to either return to the US for their education, or begin such academic journey.

And therefore, my “let’s get you on the plane to come home to see your mom in a few weeks” plan is a bit iffy at the moment.

If you didn’t know, my mom has cancer and recently suffered a stroke. Cancer is in somewhat of a remission and she’s doing fantastic despite the fact that her left side is paralyzed. And that’s why I’m running home to see her for a week. So–no time for a beer with you kids…unless we plan ahead. 🙂

Anyway. I also would like to let you know that I am reading that certain controversial book about the King by that certain American professor. I’m only on Chapter One, but so far only a few things caught me by surprise. The rest is, well for some of us, old news.

Of course, I do intend to finish the Book before I go home. I’ll let you know when I’m done with the Book then you can email me to discuss. 🙂

The Thai Mealtime

The following description of a Thai mealtime was written in the 1850’s by Monsignor Jean-Baptiste Pallegoix:

The Thai take all their meals seated on a mat or carpet. The dishes are enclosed in great bronze vases with a lid in a conical shape and adorned with red cloth. The dishes are cut in small pieces and the rice is placed aside and to the right in a great, widening bowl. On the left side, there is a basin with water in which floats another small basin to drink. The diners have neither spoons, nor forks, nor knives. They only use a mother-of-pearl spoon to take from the plates. For all the rest, fingers are sufficient for them. Only when they are satisfied do they drink pure water or a cup of tea. Drinking from the same bowl or cup is not shocking to them. Among the rich people, the husband usually eats before his wife who serves him at the table.The Princes and the King are only different from their subjects by the richness of the cutlery and the variety of dishes.

The dining hour is, so to speak, sacred for the Thai. One never bothers somebody who is eating; even masters themselves watch out not to interrupt the meal of their slaves. The time of a meal is also a time for silence. Even if one is with ten or twenty people to eat together, one barely hears a few words escape one or the other, so deeply engrossed are they in their business! Thus, their meals take only about a quarter of an hour. One must also remark that they never drink before or during a meal, only afterwards.