Culture is a vital aspect of a nation and plays a significant role in the development of its society. In Thailand, the visual medium of cinema is not only a form of entertainment but holds a deep cultural significance. Thai people are fond of watching movies and they have developed their unique practices, beliefs, and culture around this medium.
In Thai culture, watching movies is seen as an auspicious activity that brings good luck and prosperity. The idea of luck or “ดวง” (duang) is an integral part of Thai culture and beliefs. It refers to the energy or aura that surrounds a person and determines their level of luck or fortune. Thai people believe that by engaging in positive activities, such as watching movies, they can enhance their luck and attract prosperity.
Thailand has a rich history of cinema, and its film industry has produced some of the most iconic movies and actors. Thai people take pride in their film industry, and movie-going is a popular leisure activity. Thai cinemas are known for their unique offerings, such as VIP seating, free snacks, and drinks, along with special rituals performed before the film starts.
Thai people follow a set of rituals before they enter a cinema hall, such as paying respect to the movie posters, purchasing snacks, lighting incense sticks, and pouring water on the floor. These rituals are seen as a way of offering respect to the spirits and to seek their blessings for a good experience.
The concept of luck in Thai culture is not limited to just rituals performed before movie watching. The content of the film itself also plays a significant role in enhancing one’s luck. Thai people believe that the type of film they watch can bring fortune or misfortune. Films that are based on success stories, good deeds or deeds that bring happiness, or feature prosperous characters are believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the viewer. On the other hand, films that are violent, negative or portray negative characters, or are based on horror or ghost stories are seen as bad luck and are avoided.
One distinctive practice in the Thai film industry is the production of lucky films. These films are specifically made to promote good luck and prosperity, and their content revolves around positivity, success, and happiness. The production and release of these films are usually timed to coincide with auspicious dates in the Thai calendar, such as the New Year or Chinese New Year.
This practice of lucky films is not just limited to the film industry but extends to the viewers as well. People will choose to watch films based on the zodiac or auspicious date-related themes. These beliefs, rituals, and practices around cinema viewing have become an inseparable aspect of Thai culture.
Apart from bringing good luck and prosperity, Thai cinema also plays an important role in shaping the cultural identity of the nation. Thai films often highlight Thai values, such as respect, hospitality, and family, and educate Thai people on their cultural heritage. This aspect of Thai films has played a significant role in boosting national pride and shaping the Thai cultural identity.
Moreover, through the representation of traditional Thai customs and values, Thai movies have also played a role in preserving and promoting these customs and values. Thai movies have depicted Thai cultural practices and ceremonies, such as the Songkran water festival, Loy Krathong, and traditional Thai weddings. In this way, Thai cinema has acted as a cultural ambassador for the nation, promoting its customs and values to a worldwide audience.
In conclusion, the practice of ดวง (duang) in Thai culture and the beliefs around movie watching are an intriguing aspect of Thai society. Thai people take great care to ensure that their movie-watching experience brings good luck and prosperity. The production of auspicious movies and the rituals performed before watching films showcase how Thai culture reveres cinema and its transformative powers. Thai cinema’s capacity to preserve and promote Thai cultural identity through its representation of traditional customs and values has played a significant role in the development of the nation. Through its unique cultural practices, Thai cinema continues to play an important role in shaping Thai society and promoting national pride.