The day of the week practices of the Thai people hold great meaning for them.
We are consulting the book, Thai Ways, written by Denis Segaller to learn more about Thai beliefs. Originally this material appeared as a weekly column in the Bangkok World newspaper which ran continuously from 1975-1985. The book is dedicated to Segaller’s wife, Laddawan, who introduced him to her culture. These articles are not the easiest reading due to foreign viewpoint of the journalist. It was written to help Western visitors to appreciate the history and culture of Thailand. Still it is a fascinating book for any armchair traveler.
One of the most interesting Thai observances is wearing the correct color for each day of the week. This means either a piece of clothing or or some sort of spiritual talisman. The practice comes from Thai Astrology which views each day of the week as ruled by a different planet. These daily rulers are thought to intensify the activities that take place on each of these seven days. The Thai people also believe that everyone born on the same day of the week share similar personal qualities. Everyone comes under the influence of their day of birth thewada, or planetary angel.
Thai Colors of the Day
Segaller was informed by his wife that the rural people no longer hold to this custom. It is the khon sung or “higher ups” who understand the tradition and follow it. Members of royalty and military forces have always utilized astrology. They had to be proficient in casting charts to determine the best times for launching battles and scheduling ceremonies. Laddawan related an old story about the armies wearing the correct color of each day presumably to gain the upper hand. Today the color of the current king’s birthday, yellow, is worn by everyone on Father’s Day and every Monday. It is mainly the city folk and tourists who take part in this custom, and from all appearances, they do so enthusiastically.
By the way it appears that the Thai people have day of the week practices for almost everything. For instance when should we have our hair cut? There is a curious passage in this book. “If you have it cut on a Sunday, this will bring you long life. On a Monday, it will bring you health and happiness: and on a Tuesday, power. Wednesday? Never, never have your hair cut on Wednesday say the Thai, The results will be nothing short of disastrous.” Segalla continues, “A haircut on a Thursday means the thevada or guardian angels, will protect you; on a Friday, you will never go in want; and on a Saturday, you will gain admiration. But Saturdays are not good days for others things. Anything new is bad on a Saturday, especially moving into a new house, wearing new clothes, or using any new possession such as a Saturday.” If you think this daily advice is odd, keep in mind that all cultures have their particular traditions.