Everyone is superstitious to some degree (you know, you knock on wood or avoid black cats), but depending on where you live in the world your superstitions will vary. If you're jetting off for your semester in Thailand, you may be surprised just how different their superstitions are than ours!
Knowing the superstitions in Thailand can save you from some awkward moments while you're traveling there! Trust me, when I was living in Thailand for a whole semester I was glad I knew just a few of these to avoid a bit of embarrassment inside and outside of the classroom.
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As always, please be respectful of their culture and superstitions, even if they seem crazy and outrageous to you. Our superstitions don't make any sense to them either and you wouldn't want to be made fun of, right? Actually we don't take it too serious with the number 13 superstition (or do we?). Sometimes superstitions are just sort of fun, but always be respectful of another culture while you are a visitor there. Here are some of Thailand's:
Lucky people always finish the last bite
Supposedly if you eat the last piece or bite of food and it will bring you a good looking boyfriend/girlfriend.
If your left eye twitches, it's good luck. If your right eye twitches keep an eye out for bad things the rest of the day.
Avoid saying a baby is cute
This will invite jealous spirits to come in and kidnap it.
Don't point at a rainbow
Unless you're ready for your finger to fall off. Totally your choice.
If you sneeze...
Someone is either talking about you or missing you.
If you have snakes in your dreams
That means you will be finding your soulmate soon! Better do your hair and make up that day.
Stay inside if you hear a gecko
Geckos typically make loud noises only at night. If you hear one during the day before you leave, it's best to stay inside or you'll encounter some bad luck.
Don't wear black when visiting the sick
Black is strictly for mourning in Thailand. It should not be worn when visiting the sick (unless you want it to be awkward) and should also not be worn to anything happy. Pretty much, if you're in doubt, don't wear black.
Avoid cutting your hair on Wednesday
In the old days, they believed Wednesday to be a day of growth and development. Cutting your hair is kind of the opposite, so just don't do it. Some hairdressers take Wednesday off anyways.
Don't touch the top of someone's head
This is a big no no. Your coordinator and head teacher will warn you about this because it's so easy to touch the top of a kid's head. The head is the highest point of the body and the most sacred. Touching the top of someone's head is very disrespectful.
Watch where you point the bottom of your feet
Along with the touching of the head, you should not point the bottom of your feet at anyone. Since the head is the highest and most sacred part of the body, the feet are the lowest. Pointing the bottom of your feet at someone is the equivalent of flipping someone off. If you sit on the ground, do not sit with your legs straight out to someone. Cross your feet or point them elsewhere.
Want to experience more of Thailand?
Make sure you check out the ILP Instagram and #ILPThailand for some awesome pictures from our ILP Thailand volunteers. They're always up to quite a bit of exploring when they're not teaching! Volunteers are only teaching part time (no more than 20 hours a week) so you have plenty of time to soak up what this country has to offer. Come snag a spot in paradise.