Understanding Chiang Mai and its Traditions

Chiang Mai is a city is located in Thailand and is surrounded by mountains. Take note that it has gone through seven centuries of remarkable history. Also, it possesses its own unique culture, festivals, arts and traditions. It also offers a stimulating combination of ethnic, local and expat communities. It was chosen as one of Asia’s top destinations for travelers to visit, especially tourists from the western part of the world. It is also a cosmopolitan and modern city at the same time which has not lost its old traditional charm.

A traditional Chiang Mai temple

A traditional Chiang Mai temple

Culture in Chiang Mai

The Thai Royal Family is very much revered. No criticism or lack of respect is accepted in the culture. In a lot of areas, the Royal Anthem is regularly played at eight in the morning as well as at six in the evening. It is therefore necessary to be aware of any offending images of Thailand’s king. This includes stepping on coins and bank notes.

Toy dolls made by the locals are often sold at the night markets in Chiang Mai

Toy dolls made by the locals are often sold at the night markets in Chiang Mai

Also, Thai people are extremely friendly. Learning about their culture will hold you in high esteem. Another thing to take note of is the importance of foot taboos. Remember that the human feet are seen to be low and vulgar so do not point your feet at anything or anyone. Also, do not touch people on their heads. Do not forget that you should not even pat kids on their head. Thais most often than not, would be pleased if you give them a warm greeting. Such a greeting requires one to join together their fingers with their palms touching. Then, slightly bend your head and touch your nose using the tips of your fingers. The reply for this greeting is done by offering an outstretched hand that is awaiting to be shaken. When you are offered a glass of water, receive it using both hands. Also, do not pass between people who are talking with each other. If you need to, slightly duck while you pass by them.

The elephant camp in Chiang Mai is one of the must-see attractions

The elephant camp in Chiang Mai is one of the must-see attractions

Temples in Chiang Mai

There are many temples in Chiang Mai. Visitors to its temples are required to show respect as well as wear proper clothing. Doing these allow worshipers and monks to not feel offended in the sacred grounds of the temple. Proper clothes mean modest skirts and tops for women (with no bare shoulders seen) and long pants for males.

A spa resort modeled after traditional Chiang Mai buildings and temples

A spa resort modeled after traditional Chiang Mai buildings and temples

Religion in Chiang Mai

This city contains more than 300 Buddhist temples. Despite being a predominantly Buddhist nation, animism is evident and non-Buddhist beliefs are still dominant. A lot of these could be seen outside the city proper. It is widely believed that spirits reside in the land thus by building a home, spirits are then disturbed and could feel disgruntled. When a homeless spirit is appeased, happiness is then ensured. Also, small houses are built after a religious ceremony in order to allow spirits to reside there in peace. Similarly, drinks and food are placed in such houses.

The Chiang Mai Spa Resort is one of the more popular resorts among tourists

The Chiang Mai Spa Resort is one of the more popular resorts among tourists

Spirit houses such as Brahmin consists of Vishnu images or images of Shiva. A lot of these shrines are very revered. Take note that Brahminism is connected with Buddhism specifically in Royal ceremonies as shown by the annual Ploughing.

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