There are many festivals in Thailand throughout the year, but not all of them have their origin in this mainly Buddhist country. For example, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas. It has been said before that Thais love celebrating and so they will adopt any event that looks like fun. With Christmas, it is more of an end of year festivity. Just because the shopping malls have Christmas Trees and carols are being sung across the nation, it doesn’t mean that they are celebrating Christmas.
During a recent ABAC Poll, 94% of Thai people said that they knew of Christmas. 44% of them said that Christmas is a festive season, one of happiness and family gathering. 26.5% said that they felt nothing special about Christmas. What would have been more interesting was if they had asked them what Christmas is all about. I bet many of them would have said that it is Santa’s birthday.
As Thailand is a Buddhist country, Christmas Day in Thailand is not a holiday. So, unless the Thai children go to an international school, all of them, including foreign teachers, were at school today. Quite a few schools put on some kind of activity and took this opportunity to tell the students the meaning behind the day.
At Sriwittayapaknam school, students dressed up as Santa Claus and little angels and they handed out candies to the kids as they arrived at school this morning. Then during assembly, everyone was entertained with Christmas carols and dancing around the tree. In the school, about 98% are Buddhists and the rest are Muslims and Christians. Only a handful really, but at least they can share an important part of their religion with their friends.