Thai Holidays Shine

In Thailand, 99 percent of the population is Buddhist and Christmas is not considered an official holiday.

In larger cities, however, “holiday spirit” is everywhere in December to mark the birthday of Thailand’s beloved king, the world’s longest reigning monarch. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, King Bhumibol was not raised to be a king, which part of his charm and appeal for many.

To celebrate, stores and city streets are adorned with brightly colored artificial pine trees (as large pine trees don’t grow in Thailand), images of Santa Claus and Rudolph, and more. Familiar western carols are heard in crowded shops. Many Buddhist Thais celebrate the “holiday season” not as a religious event, but simply as a chance to gather with friends and family and deliver best wishes for the coming year.

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