Every culture has its own set of superstitions and beliefs. In England, people believe that if you see a lone magpie it will bring you sorrow, or that if you break a mirror, you will have seven years bad luck. While my rational mind finds it hard to believe in these sorts of things, I also understand that there is a reason why these ideas come about, and that they may even shed some light on the origins of a culture. Thai people are highly superstitious, and it pays to know some of these superstitions before travelling to Thailand to save you from any potentially awkward moments.
Don’t step over (living) people
You should never step over someone in Thailand; this is considered to be very rude. You also shouldn’t step over sleeping areas: beds, hammocks, sleeping mats etc. I learnt this lesson the hard way when I stepped over our hammock which spans the full length of our garden. My son was sleeping in it at the time. My wife threw a fit and asked me never to do it again. I was annoyed at first, as I just saw it as a practicality, but ever since then, I always squat (rather awkwardly) under the hammock. When I asked my wife more about this, she said it’s okay to step over people once they have died, but not while they’re alive. When I pressed for more explanation on this, I got the typical Thai shrug and “I don’t know too much” treatment. You learn to live with these unsatisfactory (at least to westerners) answers. Read the rest of this entry