A Thai infant officially becomes ‘some-one’ following its name is selected-often by the village abbot-and entered in the village headman’s records. Soon right after birth the youngster will be offered a nickname, usually a colour, attribute or even an animal name recommended by his physical characteristics. Intimates will continue to get in touch with him/her by this name for the rest of his life.
Childhood is a cossetted, carefree time. By the age of four, kids routinely meet to play beyond the loved ones compound. Boys and girls typically segregate and roam freely throughout the village. Boys play make-think games, fly kites, plough imaginary fields and hunt insects and harmless reptiles. Girls nurse makeshift dolls, ‘sell’ mud pies in make-believe markets, play games emulating their mothers and appear soon after younger brothers and sisters.
Steadily the children are drawn into perform patterns. About eight years of age, girls give increasing aid with household duties and boys assume greater responsibilities such as feeding poultry and livestock and guarding the family buffalo as it grazes or wallows.
Kids attend the government village school to be taught from a normal nation-wide curriculum. They acquire varying degrees of literacy, and study Buddhist ethics and Thai history. All acquire complete education and upon coming into make contact with with neighbouring villages’ youngsters and going to the provincial capital, take pleasure in a broadening of social knowledge.
Assuming ever-increasing operate loads and responsibilities, youths of 15 and 16 are already regarded as totally mature adult labourers. Amongst graduation from college at 15 and marriage about the age of 20, some village males serve in the village temple as novice monks. Such service assures them future deference and respect, their voices carrying further weight in village affairs.
The village girl’s entrance Into adolescence is a gentle a single. Courtship is confined initially to contact with communal operate groups in the course of planting and harvesting and temple-centred festivals and activities. There may possibly be extensive banter amongst boys and girls but, individually, young folks have a tendency to be shy and ‘whirlwind court-ships’ are exceedingly rare. Emotional relationships mature slowly and customarily involve chaperoned meetings at the girl’s house.
Most young people choose their own marriage partners. Hardly ever is parental disapproval voiced since marriages typically take place in between families inside the very same village, additional strengthening and widening communal ties. A marriage is occasionally presented as a fait accompli by children who work in towns and are therefore beyond parental handle.
Early in the morning, in accordance with a standard Thai belief that married life should commence with merit-making, the bride and groom feed village monks and present them with small gifts. In return, the monks bless the couple and the home where they will reside.
The village marriage ceremony bestows no official validity on their union. It is merely a public proclamation that the two people will reside with each other as man and wife. The young couple’s wrists are ceremoniously bound collectively in the presence of village elders and they are led to the marriage chamber as guests feast, drink, sing and dance. Later, their marriage is officially registered at the district workplace.