You’ve read the Lonely Planet guide and enough FAQs on Thai culture, all with the same suggestions and warnings. All too well, you know not to cut your hair on Wednesdays or touch someone’s head.
But did you know never to trust bald people or avoid sex on certain days?
This exhaustive list of Thai superstitions, collected by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, will take your mind off present troubles and take you to a wondrous world of beliefs past, where imaginations were rich, but scientific methods poor.
From muscle spasms and lost teeth to all kinds of animal omens, this list will add meaning to every minor event in your otherwise mundane life.
Who knew one shouldn’t accept birthday sex because it’s a day for purity? Or that a plant could predict success? Some are folk beliefs designed to increase social harmony, encourage clean living or reaffirm social expectations. But many are just bizarre and worth reading just to imagine how people thought hundreds of years back.
1. If a home lizard makes a noise behind your back as you leave the house, bad things may happen while you’re out. But if the sweet creature is at your front or side, you may proceed confidently.
2. A barn owl is a symbol of evil curses. If one lands on your roof, horrible things will happen.
3. Geckos usually make a loud noise at night, but if the sound is heard during the day, it is considered a warning of bad events.
4. If a bird poops on your head, you’ll be doomed for the rest of the day.
5. Don’t wear black to visit sick patients because black is a strict mourning color in Thai culture. Also, you should not wear black to a joyful ceremony, like your best friend’s wedding. (When in doubt: Avoid black.)
6. If a monitor lizard enters your house, talk to it nicely, and it will bring you fortune.
7. If you hear strange human voices calling you at night, don’t answer because it could be a ghost. Answering means you allow them to enter your house.
8. A mole on the lower lip makes one a big mouth.
9. A player commonly has wavy hair, a short neck and face.
10. A person with big ears has an easy, lucky life while those with thick ears might be lonely, doomed folk.
11. A person who use different tones in a single conversation is insincere.
12. Baldies are sneaky and flirty. The belief comes from the characteristics of a fictional character “Khun Chang.”
13. Babies with birthmarks had past lives.
14. Don’t take a tree from the temple to plant at home. Trees at the temples are sacred and meant to stay there. Moving it elsewhere will bring bad events to that place.
15. Don’t cut your hair on Wednesday, or you will have bad luck.
16. A left eye twitch is a sign of bad luck. A right eye twitch means good luck.
17. If a wild animal enters your home, pray with candles, joss sticks and flowers. Then kindly ask it to leave your house and take any traces of bad luck with it.
18. A cremation should never be done on Friday because it is a day for cheerful events. (Probably avoid wearing black in either case.)
19. If a comb breaks while brushing hair, toss it right away, or bad things will follow.
20. If you randomly smell joss sticks in the middle of the night, the spirits of your close relatives are present.
21. If a bee makes a beehive in your house, don’t destroy it. Bees are diligent animals that bring good luck.
22. Predict your success in business by planting any type of Aloe. If it grows to be brown and dried-out, your business will soon fail.
23. Step out of your house with the left food, and you will have a good day.
24. If you hit another’s hand as you both reach out for food at the table, expect a guest soon.
25. Don’t “clank” your dish. It is an invitation for hungry spirits out there to join your meal.
26. Don’t sweep the floor at night, or you will sweep out the money you have earned during the day.
27. Don’t decorate your home with a statue or image of a giant. It will provoke arguments among the residents.
28. Don’t push your bed against the wall of the bathroom because wealth will slip away. And don’t sleep facing the bedroom door because you will have bad dreams.
29. Feeding stray animals or giving them shelter on rainy days earns great merit.
30. Don’t let your kitchen get dirty, or you will lose money.
31. Don’t give a handkerchief as a gift to your friends and lover, or you will soon separate.
32. Don’t let a mirror go dusty. It will dust the future of the owner with bad luck.
33. Don’t have sex on your birthday and Buddhist holidays. These are days for purity.
34. If you ever find a coin on the ground, pick it up and call it a lucky baht, or you will offend your money and drive it out of your pocket.
35. Putting a ring on the middle or ring finger of your right hand will compliment your wealth. Meanwhile, wearing a ring on the ring finger or pinky of your left hand will help you appear more charming.
36. A single girl should never sing in the kitchen, or she will end up with an old boyfriend or none at all.
37. Donating money for a coffin for a dead person without relatives can help you get through tough times.
38. Always clean the Buddhist shrine at your home, or you might lose respect from your colleagues.
39. Always stock eggs and oranges in your kitchen. They will bring happiness to your household.
40. A pregnant woman cannot attend a funeral, or the spirit of the dead will disturb the baby. This could be deadly.
41. Don’t sleep with your head pointing to the west, or you will have bad dreams.
42. If your necklace falls off, bad things will happen.
43. Don’t call a baby “cute,” or a jealous spirit will kidnap it. Always call the newborn “ugly.”
44. Don’t cut your nails at night, the spirits of your ancestors will worry that you will cut yourself. (The afterlife must be really boring.)
45. When using stairs, take only one step at a time, or you will not succeed in your career.
46. A pregnant woman should not watch someone go through childbirth. She will be terrified and have even more difficult labor.
47. Don’t place a mirror near your bed. If you can see yourself while in bed, you tend to obsess over sex.
48. To prevent rain from ruining an outdoor event, make a virgin girl stick lemongrass into the ground.
49. Don’t touch a someone’s head, not even a child. The head is a sacred part of one’s body.
50. Dreaming that a snake wraps itself around your body means you will soon meet your soulmate.
51. Seeing a dead body in your dream means you will win something from a lucky draw.
52. Dreaming that a tooth falls out means your relative will die. An upper jaw tooth refers to a relative of your father’s side, while a lower jaw tooth is your mother’s.
53. Kissing someone in a dream means bad luck.
54. Don’t pre-celebrate your birthday. You will only die sooner.
55. Three doors should not align with each other, or it will create a portal for spirits from the other world to enter.
56. If a toad enters your home, it will bring good luck.
57. If your left arm muscle twitches, you will lose money. Right arm twitching brings money.
58. If a pet bird makes a noise at night, you will get into an argument.
59. A woman on her period should not step into the temple.
60. Morning dreams are believable as it’s the time angels visit mortals.