Falls on the first day after the full moon of the eighth lunar month (July), Khao Phansa Day marks the beginning of the three-month Buddhist Lent period. During this time, Buddhist monks are restricted to their temples for a period of three months. Young men over 20 years, who have not yet ordained as monks, may take this opportunity to enter the monkhood to observe Buddhist teachings.
Stories of the Buddhist Rains Retreat can be traced back to the beginning of the Buddhist era. At that time, the Lord Buddha saw that monks wandering outside the temple compound might damage growing crops or accidentally kill insects, so he proclaimed that it would be better for the monks to observe the teachings and practice meditation at the monasteries instead.
Celebrations for the start of the Buddhist Lent take place all over Thailand but the most elaborate ceremonies are held in Saraburi where there is ‘Tak Bat Dok Mai’ (offerings of flowers to monks) and in Ubon Ratchathani, where the Candle Festival is held.
In Ubon Ratchathani, 629 km northeast of Bangkok, the Candle Festival is the province’s most popular annual event. On the days before the event, the local authorities will be busy preparing the venue at Thung Si Muang, a public field, similar to Bangkok’s Sanam Luang. At the same time, local artisans make ornately carved beeswax candles of various sizes and shapes. On the day of the festival, the fabulous candles are paraded around the town on colorful floats, accompanied by displays of religious devotion. After the procession, they are presented to local temples.
Saraburi, just 108 km from Bangkok, holds the ‘Tak Bat Dok Mai’ festival to mark the beginning of the Buddhist Lent. The event takes place at the shrine of the Buddha’s Footprint (Phra Phuttabaht shrine). The event draws devout Buddhists from all parts of Thailand.
This classic Thai pineapple fried rice recipe adds a little bit of sweet and sour to the fried rice we all are used to. Meanwhile, an addition of cashew nuts also makes this dish a healthy and yummy goodies which you would not want to miss. Try this easy fried rice recipe at home – it’s as good or better than take-out fried rice!
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cubed chicken
- 2-3 cups rice (day-old is best)
- 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1/4 cup unsalted cashews
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 3-4 red chili peppers (if desired)
- pineapple shell, halved and hollowed out
1. In a large wok, add about half of the oil and garlic and cook on high heat until the aroma comes out from the garlic.
2. Add in raw chicken and cook until chicken is almost completely cooked.
3. Add in rice, onion and remaining oil and continue to cook. Then stir in pineapple chunks, fish sauce and oyster sauce. If desired, add in chili peppers. Stir in cashews.
4. Shift the rice to the side of the wok, so that you have some empty space to cook your eggs.
5. Add eggs into the empty space and stir them to scramble them as they begin to cook.
6. Once all the eggs are finished cooking and are completely scrambled, add it back to the rice.
7. Stir and cook a few more moments. Add in scallions and cook 1 more minute. Scoop rice into pineapple shells and serve.
On June 26 every year, Thai students celebrate the birthday of legendary poet Phra Sunthorn Voharn, widely known as Sunthorn Phu, who was declared a World Poet by UNESCO in 1986.
Sunthon Phu, a poetic genius, is recognized for his outstanding works in verse. He was appointed the royal clerk and received the title of Khun Sunthon Wohan in the Second Reign. During the reign of King Rama III, Sunthon Phu resigned and left the court to become a monk. After he left the monkhood, he worked for a member of the royalty for one year, and then faced difficulties when the princess passed away. He traveled by boat and continued to write poetry to earn a living. His fortune rose slightly during the reign of King Rama IV. He was given the title of Phra Sunthon Wohan in 1851 and served the court until his death in 1855.
His famous works were Phra Aphai Mani, a romantic adventure of a young prince who was kidnapped by a sea-ogress, known as Phi Sua Samut. Phra Aphai Mani is considered a combination of Thai and international traits, as there were some foreign characters in the final part. It is believed that Sunthon Phu took foreigners engaging in trading contract with Thailand at that time as models for foreign characters in Phra Aphai Mani.
The greatness of Sunthorn Phu lies not so much in correct and ornate style, which is the aim of
most Thai poets, as in the very simplicity and sincerity of his expression. Unlike so many other poets, he wrote from his heart and not from his head. Not being a learned man, he confined himself to simple forms of verse and simple language. But in his own field, in what we call Glon poetry, he was past master and his works are unsurpassed and probably can never be surpassed, although no other Thai poet has had so many imitators. But Sunthorn Phu reigns supreme, because in all his poetry, in Phra Abhai Mani, in his Nirats with their mixture of romance, pathos and humour, he touched the heartstrings of the common people. That is why he is so deservedly called the People’s Poet.
Regarded as one of Thailand’s major literary figure, Sunthon Phu was declared one of the world’s great personalities in the field of culture by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1986 when Thailand celebrated his bicentennial.
On June 26 each year, an event is held in commemoration of this great poet in the compound of his memorial in Klaeng District, Rayong Province. It features a contest of poetry reading, impromptu poetic dialogues, and picture drawing. More importantly, there is a pageant of Phi Sua Samut, and contestants make up to look like a sea-ogress. The pageant brings a great fun to both the contestants and onlookers.
For a lot of people, summer heat can bring joy and some cheer. However, as the heat wave moves over us, there are those who would try their best to avoid the burning heat that Summer brings. To get ourselves ready for these few summer months, here are some tips to cool you down without having to fly somewhere else! Check it out!
Traditionally, foods such as fennel and cucumber have been used to reduce body heat. Astringent food is the best to cool you. Oatmeal, lentils, beans, grapes and bananas contain tannin, which gives astringent foods their dryness. When you consume these, your tissues require more water to relax, so water absorption increases and your body stays cool for longer.
Wear one of the widely available synthetic fabrics designed to wick away sweat and that sticky feeling (examples include Coolmax and Nano-Tex); they’re not just for athletes anymore. If you prefer cotton, make it thin, light colored, and, most of all, loose. “The best thing is to have sweat evaporate directly from skin to air,” says Larry Kenney, a professor of physiology and kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park. “The next best thing is for the sweat to move quickly from your skin to clothing and then evaporate. Loose, billowy clothes allow air movement next to the skin and help with evaporation.”
There’s a reason we reach for salads in the summer. They’re easier to digest than, say, a fatty hamburger, which leaves you feeling sluggish in the high heat. Instead, go for fruits and vegetables, which are watery and help keep you hydrated (and cooler), says Robert Kenefick, a physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, in Natick, Massachusetts, which studies the effects of extreme climates on soldiers’ bodies.
To replace the moisture that you lose as you perspire, be sure to drink. As you lose water to dehydration, your body temperature rises, so replacing fluids is essential to keeping cool. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar, which are dehydrating. “Also opt for hydrating foods,” says Deena Kastor, a marathon runner and an Olympic bronze medalist. “Try a smoothie for lunch, and add more fruits and vegetables to all your meals. Watermelon has the greatest water content of any food out there.”
Make a “cold compress.”
Fill a cotton sock with rice, tie the sock with twine, and freeze it for two hours before bedtime. Then slide it between the sheets. Rice retains cold for a long period because it’s dense and starchysays Jim Hill, Ph.D., an associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California at Davis.
Spice it up.
As people who live in scorching climates, such as those of Mexico and India, know well, eating hot stuff can cool you down. “Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that helps us to perspire more readily,” says Rick Bayless, the James Beard Award-winning chef of Frontera Grill, in Chicago. When this sweat evaporates, you experience brief relief.
There you go, the seven easy tips that can help you survive this summer! Can you guess which one is our favorite? Check out our recipe for this month and you’ll know for sure how Thai people celebrate the heat! 🙂
Yum Yai, also referred to Thai salad, is usually a varied combination of vegetables, herbs and spices. Usually there are many ingredients in each salad dish which has to be prepared and done separately prior to the mixing. One good thing about this dish is that most of these ingredients are able to be eaten fresh, with less carbohydrate and meat. This makes it an excellent dish for weight-loss and healthy meals for the summer.
1/4 cup garlic, minced
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
1/4 cup coriander/cilantro leaves, chopped
3-5 young stalks of lemongrass, ends only-finely sliced
1/4 cup young kaffir lime leaves, central ribs removed~finely sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup Chinese celery, cut into 1 1/2 ” pieces
1/4 cup young galangal root, thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted cashews
100 g. squid, sliced diagonally**
200 g. prawns, peeled
100 g. scallops, halved
50 g. mussels, beards removed
3-5 fresh Bird’s eye chillies, crushed (in a mortar) or minced
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp. fish sauce (Tiparos)
1 Tbsp. roasted chili paste (Pantai)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (Healthy Boy mushroom sauce)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. palm sugar
Bring a med-large pot of water to boil. Briefly cook the seafood until opaque (careful not to overcook to avoid a rubbery texture), drain and chill until ready to mix with the other ingredients. Meanwhile, clear enough space to prepare the vegetables.
For the salad dressing:
In a large bowl, mix the dressing ingredients first then add the remaining ingredients and toss thoroughly. Adjust to taste and enjoy!
The summer breeze is almost here — and this only means one thing: that is, it’s time to go to the beach! Because going to the beach does not only mean fun and excitement, but also a time to show off our beautiful body as well, it is really essential to ensure that we are well-trimmed and we have shed off some fats we have stored over the winter! Here are some healthy beach body tips you may want to check out before summer is here!
1. Reduce your calorie intake
Eating a lot of high calorie diet over the winter can be a good idea as we need to store up some calorie to make ourselves warm. However, it’s not such a good idea to get into the habit especially when you want to shed off some of your excess in the Summer! Meanwhile to reduce your calorie intake does not only mean eating less but also eating the right thing. From time to time, you may allow a piece of chocolate, but just be cautious not to do it too often! In fact, you could easily lose 5-7 lbs in a month by simply reducing your calories.
Press-ups might be old school, but they are great at toning the upper body and core. Meanwhile, it also helps with the arms and six-packs muscles to look firm and strong. Aim to do 30-50 a day for a month and you’ll look nice for the beach.
The best exercise to burn calories is running. Nothing feels better than letting the wind blow right into your face while going high speed on your feet. If you can fit in a 30-45 min run 3-4 times a week you could burn up to 10,000 calories in the month leading up to your holiday.
4. Limit alcohol
Do you know that a bottle of wine contains just over 600 calories and a pint of beer contains just over 150 calories. Cutting them out for a month before you go on holiday can lead to significant weight loss.
5. Suck in your stomach
By simply sucking in your belly button regularly throughout the day, you can tone the deep stomach muscles which help to flatten your stomach. This easy tip is obviously worth a try!
6. Jump squats
Squatting low then bursting up into a jump is a fantastic exercise to burn calories and tone your legs and bottom. For real results, do this exercise for 60 seconds and then follow it with 60 seconds of sit-ups. Repeat five times.
7. Drink water
Did you know the body often confuses thirst for hunger? Subsequently, drinking plenty of water can quench your hunger and therefore stop you eating as much.
8. Take the stairs
Stairs are great at toning the legs and the bottom, so for the next month make sure you take the stairs whenever you can. If time permits, go up and down them two or three times to make the most of your leg and glute toning opportunity.
Good old-fashioned sit-ups can help tone your abs if you’re lucky enough to carry very little abdominal fat. Aim to do 50 a day in the run up to your holiday and you’ll look better than ever.
The Ploughing Ceremony marks the start of the season when paddy land is prepared for rice cultivation. It signals to farmers that the time has come to work their fields and encourages them to try harder. This ceremony has customarily been performed in almost all countries of Southeast Asia. In monarchies, by tradition the ruler presides over the ceremonial proceedings.
During the Ayutthaya Period in Thai history, this ancient ceremony had been incorporated into the Palace Laws and became known as Charot Phra Nangkhan Raek Na Khwan, or the First Ploughing Ceremony, which formerly was performed exclusively as a Brahmin ritual. In the reign of King Rama IV (1851-1868), the Buddhist ritual was added, known as Phuet Mongkhon Ceremony, to bless plant matter and rice seed used in the ploughing process. It had been held at the Phra Ubosot of Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, on the day before the First Ploughing Ceremony. In more recent times of Thailand’s history, the ceremony of Phuet MongkhonCharot Phra Nangkhan Raek Na Khwan had been performed yearly, until it ceased in the year 1936. By royal command of H. M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, this ancient Thai tradition was revived in the year 1960. It has been held annually, to this date.
In history, this ceremony was held on an auspicious day determined by a royal astrologer, sometime in the month of May, to mark the beginning of the rice-planting season in Thailand. At present, this ceremony is performed in two parts.
To start the ritual proceedings, the Royal Phuet Mongkhon Ceremony is performed in the Royal Chapel at Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram. Rice seed, plant matter and agricultural implements to be used in the ploughing ceremony are blessed through religious rites presided over by the King.
In the morning of the following day, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony proper is carried out in traditional style at Sanam Luang, on the open ground in the heart of the city of Bangkok. Beforehand, the ceremonial site is prepared by having furrows dug into the ground for the ritual ploughing.
A high-ranking government official in charge of agriculture is appointed to perform the role of the Lord of the Harvest, with four unmarried women officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives as his assistants. These Celestial Maidens, as they are known, carry the seeds in baskets suspended from slender yokes resting on their shoulders while circumambulating across the symbolic field, behind a pair of oxen / bullocks drawing the plough, directed by the ploughman. Thereupon, the Lord of the Harvest selects one of three pieces of scarlet cloth of varying lengths. His choice predicts the amount of rainfall for the incoming agricultural year. Then, the seeds blessed earlier by the King are broadcast into the furrows, from where they are later gathered by farmers who regard them as auspicious and keep them to mix with seed to be used in cultivating their own fields.
The ploughing ceremony is completed by leading the draft animals to troughs containing fodder and liquids, including paddy, corn, legumes, sesame, grass and water as well as liquor. The animals’ first choices of fodder and liquids serve as means to predict the harvest of the
Upon conclusion of the ceremony at Sanam Luang, some of the rice seed broadcast onto the ceremonial site is taken to the experimental rice growing station on the palace ground of Chitralada Villa, the royal residence, to be planted for the production of seed that will be required for next year’s ceremony.
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, deemed a vital event by Thai farmers for their agricultural fortune, signifies one of the prominent traditional features of Thailand’s cultural identity.
Mango Sticky Rice is a Thai dessert often sold by vendors with street carts in the spring and early summer while mangoes are in season. It’s an incredibly simple dessert to make, given that one has the ability to steam the sticky rice properly, with only 5 ingredients. Sweet and rich, khao niao mamuang is a favorite way to finish any Thai meal.
- Short-grain sticky rice (see notes) — 1 1/2 cups
- Water — to cover
- Coconut milk — 2 cups
- Brown or palm sugar — 1/2 to 3/4 cups
- Salt — 1 teaspoon
- Mangoes, peeled and sliced or cubed — 3-4
- Mint sprigs (optional) — 1 for each portion
- Place the rice in a large bowl and fill bowl with enough water to cover rice by 2 to 3 inches. Let soak for at least 3 hours or, if possible, overnight. This is an important step, so don’t skip it.
- Drain and rinse the rice. Set up a steamer (steel or bamboo) over about 3 inches of water and line the inside with moistened cheesecloth. Pour the soaked rice into steamer. Bring the water to a boil over medium flame, cover tightly and steam the rice for 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring the coconut milk, sugar and salt to a slow simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat. Do not boil.
- When rice is finished, remove it to a large bowl. Stir half the sweetened coconut milk into the rice. Adjust the amount of sugar to your taste, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for about 30 minutes.
- Place the coconut rice in a large bowl or individual serving bowls. Lay a few pieces of mango on the side and garnish with a mint sprig. Pour a little of the remaining coconut milk over each portion and serve at room temperature.
With the arrival of spring, it is time again to get rid of all your clutter, fix that peeling paint on the outside of your house and do a little bit of cleaning. In addition to fixing up things around your home, this is also a perfect time to do a little cleaning on the inside. We can start this with our diet.
A healthy diet is the ultimate “wonder drug,” preventing disease, supporting natural biological systems, and simply making us feel better. The following dietary suggestions are part of a cleanse, but even more importantly, they can also be incorporated into a permanent eating plan to enhance long-term health and vitality. See below for Spring Cleansing Diet guideline!
- Reduce your intake of animal protein, particularly red meat and dairy. Eliminate factory-farmed animal products, since they are laden with chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics. Instead, focus on organic plant proteins and green vegetables. These can be eaten raw, steamed, or sautéed in liquid. Also avoid foods that promote inflammation, including sugar, trans fats, alcohol, processed foods, and caffeine.
- Incorporate alkaline foods. One side effect of cold weather is that acidity builds up in blood and in a variety of tissues, causing aches and pains and reduced immunity. Alkalizing foods, such as cucumber, kale, sea vegetables, parsley, sprouts, spinach, avocado, and broccoli, are all excellent to counter acidity and help the body shed toxins.
- Always hydrate. That means fresh water, herbal teas, and vegetable broths. Also include fiber, which will help to eliminate toxins from the digestive system. Rice bran, chia seeds, and flax are good sources. In addition, probiotic foods support healthy flora in the digestive tract. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, coconut kefer, and other fermented foods and drinks offer good sources of healthy probiotics. Supplementing with a high-quality probiotic supplement is also very helpful during a cleanse, as well as afterward.
With the above cleansing diet guideline, we hope you get an idea of how to get yourself fresh and ready for the hot summer!
If you have other cleansing tips this spring, please feel free to share them under the comment here so everyone can learn a bit from each other too!
One common thing you see a lot during Songkran Festival in Thailand is Din-Sor-Pong, a type of natural talc derived from limestone. During this celebration, the street will be painted with this white powdery splash and people, young or old, often put this natural mineral on their face. Let us learn more about this tradition and its health benefits.
Din-Sor-Pong is among one of pure ground substances, which can be found abundant in Lopburi Province in Thailand. Natives normally burrow that whitened dirt and wash it , just before refining the item. Any very good natural powder shall be watered down by using pure waters to make a thick fusion. Later Din-Sor-Pong makers may coloring or perhaps add more aroma towards this mix.
Up to now, consumers called Din-Sor-Pong as Pang-Yen meaning cooling talc. It is used in special occasions such as wedding ceremony, paying respect to the elders or even giving blessing for new vehicles. When there is a new-born, the actual Din-Sor-Pong will be mixed with soil and applied all around the navels and let it dry.
Din-Sor- Pong is also used for health and beauty. In the past Thai people dissolve it in water and apply it on the face to eliminate breakouts and acne. It is also claimed that it works best on sensitive skin and freckles. Consistently usage of fine din-sor-pong is said to be suitable for face powdering than other kinds of talc. To reduce acne, Din-sor-pong can be mixed with lime and honey and pasted on the face for a while, then rinsed out with water. This traditional face masking is believed to reduce oil. but excessive application would turn the face dry.
Here’s a little Din-Sor-Pong for beauty recipe that you may want to check out!
25-30 pieces of mini Din-Sor-Pong, 1/4 cup of yoghurt, 2 tbsp of honey, 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of lime (use 2 teaspoon of lime for oily skin)
Ground mini Din-Sor-Pong and mix all the ingredients together
Put on your face and leave 20-30 mins to dry
Rise off with lukewarm water and wash the skin again with cold water
Guess now you know why Din-Sor-Pong is so essential for Songkran! Because it’s Songkran’s Hidden Beauty Secret!!!