When being thousands of miles away from home, it’s only natural to feel a little homesick. During Christmas time in Thailand, I did feel a bit homesick and was saddened that I wasn’t surrounded by my family. However, I was also glad to be in Thailand during this holiday to witness firsthand what it was like to celebrate this holiday in a completely different country and culture.
And big surprise: it was nothing like I had expected.
Being that Thailand is primarily Buddhist, the country doesn’t particularly celebrate the holiday, but it does recognize it. Throughout our city, there were Christmas decorations hung up.
Snoopy and a large, beautifully decorated Christmas tree outside our mall
Even at our school on Christmas Day, there were decorations aplenty!
Oh, and every single person was slathered in cherry red and every child had a Santa hat on.
During the school day, there wasn’t much teaching. For most of the morning, everyone in the school convened in an auditorium-like room and watched numerous children on stage sing and dance (mostly to “Jingle Bell Rock,” which seems to be the Christmas song of choice in Thailand).
While sitting with Matt and a few other foreign teachers, however, we were appalled at the nature of the dancing. The dancing, which was done mostly by ten-year-olds, was incredibly provocative.
At one point, a group of young girls were dancing in their red Christmas attire, which was quickly ripped off to reveal tight-fitting clothes underneath. The girls then proceeded to “twerk” on their hands and knees on the floor.
The best part of this was not even the performers, but the audience of about three thousand children and about a hundred teachers. They were going nuts. They were standing up, cheering, taking videos and pictures, and dancing along with them!
It was actually hilarious. I sincerely wish I had gotten that on video. I’m incredibly sorry that I didn’t!
Most of the assembly was like that for the rest of the morning, which was just a fantastic comedic routine for us. Then, the rest of the school day mainly consisted of students watching cartoons and just relaxing.
Another intriguing celebration for Christmas was on the 26th, where there was a teachers’ party hours after school ended.
It wasn’t exactly a “Christmas” celebration. It was just a celebration that happened to be near Christmas. However, there were some Christmas decorations… But, there was a sign above the stage that said “Happy New Year…” Alright, I guess I’ll just say it was a Christmas/New Year’s party for the teachers.
At the party, everyone was expected to wear traditional Thai clothes, which we all did. (Naturally, we didn’t have traditional Thai clothes in our wardrobes, so the school allowed us to borrow clothes from them).
Matt and I in traditional Thai clothes
There was a large buffet of Thai food that including items like papaya salad, pork noodle soup, fried chicken and pork, fried morning glory, fried noodles, and an assortment of other food items that I don’t know the names of or how to explain! And it was all delicious! And not to mention super spicy!
A snapchat I saved of the party
Unfortunately, there was no liquor supplied at the party. However, later in the evening we discovered that a couple of the Thai teachers had bottles of whiskey hidden behind one of the buffet tables. Naturally, we asked if we could have some and they were more than willing to share it with us!
As for entertainment at the party, on stage there was karaoke at the beginning, where Thai teachers aplenty jumped on stage and sang Thai songs. There were also numerous performances by Thai teachers, which can only be explained by videos:
After everyone was just about finished eating, there were also gift giveaways!
Our school was super rich, by the way, so they were giving away expensive items to randomly selected teachers for free, such as TVs, refrigerators, rice cookers, money, and so much more. All of the English teachers who went, including Matt and I, waited and waited for our names to be called, but they never seemed to get called. Eventually, while Matt and I were just about to leave the party, I heard my name called! I hopped up and practically ran (but didn’t because I would’ve tripped over my skirt) to the stage and guess what I won!?
Two hand towels. Big winner!
After that, we decided to walk back home. We were rather tipsy and tired and wanted to go to sleep (it was past 11:00! Thai people like to party).
It was a wonderful two day “celebration” of Christmas and, as much as I had missed being home, I was very thankful to be where I was with the people I got to share it with.
Thanks for reading, guys! 🙂
Next post: New Year’s in Koh Chang!
Merry very belated Christmas from Matt and I!