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Thailand’s colourful culture

With the recent passing of HM King Bhumibol, the important role that colour plays in Thai culture has been easy to see. In Phuket and all around the nation the vast majority of people are dressed in black to publicly display their sorrow at the King's death. Black and white lengths of cloth also adorn all government buildings and many websites have been turned black and white as well.


By Sirinya Pakditawan

Saturday 12 November 2016, 02:00PM


While the use of colour to convey meaning happens all across the world, here in Thailand it is particularly prominent. In Thai culture, each day of the week is associated with a colour. This is based on the colour of a heavenly body (a planet, the sun or the moon), and in turn a God, who is believed to protect that day. This colour system traces its origins back to ancient Hindu astrology and mythology, as do many of Thailand’s customs and religious practices. 

This is not so strange when you remember that we have a similar system in Western tradition, where we take the names of our days of the week from Roman and Norse Gods and their associated planets. Hence in English we have Thursday (Thor’s day), Saturday (Saturn’s day) Sunday (The Sun’s day) Monday (The Moon’s day) and so on.

Thai people believe that each day of the week coincides with a planet and a God. In turn, each respective planet and God has a dominant colour. In practice, this means the day of the week you were born will determine your birth colour and gemstone.

For instance, Surya is the God of Sunday. Since he is the God of the Sun, his colour is red. People born on this day have the colour red, their birth gemstone’s are garnet and red ruby.

Another example is Monday, which is the day of the moon. Accordingly, the God of this day is Chandra, the moon God. His colour is yellow or white and the lucky gemstone is citrine. Since the late HM King Bhumibol was born on Monday, on the auspicious occasion of his birthday Thailand is widely decorated with yellow and people wear yellow clothes.

JW Marriott Phuket

Now let us take a look at what colour is suited for your birthday. As mentioned, Sunday is the day of the god Surya whose colour is red. The gemstone for this day is ruby or garnet. Monday, the day of the moon, has the yellow gem citrine or yellow sapphire but also occasionally moonstone. Tuesday which is the day of the God Mangala (Mars) has pink as its ruling colour, thus, pink sapphire, pink topaz or spinel.

Since Wednesday is the day of Budha (the Hindu deity, not to be confused with Buddha), this day’s colour is green. Suitable gems are green emerald, tsavorite garnet or chrysoberyl. Thursday has orange since that is the colour of Brihaspati (Jupiter). What could be more suitable for this day than orange coral or orange sapphire?

Finally, Friday is the day of Shukra (Venus) and his colour is blue. Thus, I love blue sapphire for this day. Saturday has the colour purple since it is the day of Shani (Saturn). The gemstones for Saturday are amethyst and purple sapphire.

Summing up, I think it is a very pleasant concept having birthday colours and corresponding gemstones for each day of the week. Since I was born on a Monday, according to Thai culture, my gem is the yellow citrine. Which one is yours?

To read the original story, and more, visiy Sirinya’s blog: sirinyas thailand.de

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