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Vietnam is a country that comprises of 54 ethnic groups (Andersen and Taylor 15). Each of these ethnic groups has their own language, own adapted lifestyle and their specific cultural heritage. Tai is the third largest ethnic group in Vietnam.
Origin of Thai
This refers to al the ethnic groups in southern China and Southeast Asia. They share similar traditions and practices. Their festivals are also largely similar. The people of Thai are believed to have originated from Iran and Central China about 40000 years ago. This is according to the genetic mutation showed by the halo groups of DNA tests in recent researches. Proto-Kradai, their language, is believed to have originated from Austronesian language and carried to this group by the migrants who migrated from Taiwan to Mainland China. The first nation state of the Thai people emerged after the formation of Sukhothai kingdom. The growth of the Thai Empire was enabled by the continued contests by Ayutthaya Empire. The Thai people wee able to develop tremendously because they were good learners. This is because they learnt about good trade from the Europeans while retaining their independence. In modern history, they were the only ethnic group in their region who were not colonized. This is an indication that this ethnic community has remained outstanding from he very beginning. It may even be termed as superior to the rest of the Vietnamese ethnic groups.
Thai’s Culture Core
The Thai society is divided into the northern, southern and northeastern sides. However, all the subdivisions speak the Thai language. It should also be noted that the Central Thai seems to dominate the ethnic group because of the centralized government. This society practices Theravada Buddhism religion. Their practices and beliefs are in accordance with this religion. They also indulge in artistic activities like Muay Thai (boxing), dancing (xoe dance) and Makruk (Thai Chess).
They are divided into social structures known as ban muong. Their lineage is referred to as dam. Each of these lineages has three forms of relationships. These three relationships are Ai Noong, Lung Tay and Nhinh Xao. In terms of marriages, the sons in laws stay with the wife’s family for a period of 8 to 12 years. During festivals, the Thai people wear long black dresses and wear turbans on their heads. Their festivals era held every 7th and 8th month of the lunar year; these festivals are in worship of their ancestors. During birth, the women of the Thai society give birth while seated and are fed with a bamboo tube. For a period of one month after delivery, these women must abstain from the consumption of certain foods. A Lung Tay is then invited to give a name to the new born baby. (LLC General Books 209)
Their funerals have two major steps. The first step is the bringing of the deceased’s body for offerings and taking the body to the forest for the burial. The second and final step involves asking the spirit of the deceased to return and occupy its space among the ancestral spirits (Andersen and Taylor 22). Their entertainment activities include tag of war, xoe dance, horse arcing, boat cruising and spinning top among others. Their diet mainly encompasses ordinary rice though stick rice is still consumed traditionally. Their foods are always spiced up with spices such as chilies, corn leaves and coriander among others. Their calendar is based on the ancient horoscope that contains 12 animals. The Black Thai’s calendar has a difference of six months with this calendar.
The Thai community has a diversified culture. This is evident from the analysis of the cultural practices listed above. They value their culture and do not divert to other cultures. They are among the few ethnic communities that continue to hold on to their traditional practices even with the coming up of modernism. This shows that they are committed to what they believe in. this implies that the upcoming generations are likely to be morally upright throughout their upbringing (Andersen and Taylor 18). This is a good example that other communities all over the world need to copy and enhance. Adapting such practices would ensure that the world we live in has hardly any immorality.
Development of the Thai ethnic group
Right from the era of the colonial times, the Thai society showed indications of the need for development. This was mainly demonstrated by their urge to learn good trade tactics from the European people. This was an indication that the society was development oriented. Due to their urge for development, they remained independent and only adapted those things that were beneficial towards development. It was for this reason that they were the only society that was never colonized by the Europeans and other colonizers.
The Thai people also engaged themselves in agricultural activities. They were especially involved in the production of rice in large amounts. Unlike in the past when they only grew one crop of sticky rice, they currently grow two crops of ordinary rice in their fields. They not only farm in their fields but also the Sweden fields. They grow corn, other subsidiary crops and cotton which are used in making clothing. Through the production of these crops they are able to participate in trade and other activities and they earn foreign exchange. This leads to economic growth of the community and, eventually, leads to development.
The Thai people value education a huge deal. They have their own form of writing and their teachings are made orally. Their value of education is evident through the existence of numerous literature works. It is also noticeable that their customary laws advocate for education and its value. The traditional history is also composed of very many teachings. Education is the key to a bright future. This implies that an educated society is likely to enjoy many opportunities. As a result, they are able to use their acquired knowledge and expertise in carrying out development oriented projects. These projects will eventually lead to the mass development of the entire society.
In support of the development process of the Thai community, there has been the introduction of the Thai Community Development Centre. The main aim of the centre was to improve the standards of living of the low income earners. It also aims at uplifting those people who run small scale businesses. This ensures that development of the community is highly enhanced. The centre ensures that their goals and objectives of raising development in the community are achieved by involving the members of the community. They achieve this by organizing and holding the community fair. During the fair, the members of the community are educated on the various ways of enhancing development and the importance of development projects in the society.
A comparison made with other ethnic communities in this region indicates that the level of development in the community is relatively higher (Andersen and Taylor 25). His could be attributed to the numerous efforts by the leaders and the members of the community. Development is especially maintained at high levels because of the support for the education progress within the community. Education is vital to the entire development process. All the efforts that have been put in place are highly development progress.
The diversified culture of the Thai community is a tourist attraction. This is especially o for the Xoe dance. Tourists all over the world visit the community during the festivals. This has turned into a growing economic activity in the region. As a result, there are a lot of funds that are generated through this tourist attraction. These funds are then used in the development of the community. This ensures that the welfare of the community is greatly improved.
The Thai community is a good representation of the Vietnamese communities. This is because they are strong in what they believe in. they also are modernized in their own way. They are a good example of a people who can combine modernism with their traditional practices. This ensures that the essence of traditions is passed from one generation to another. This is extremely important in ensuring that morality persists on over the years. They are also a good example in terms of their development progress.
The evaluation of the Thai community right from the time of their origin to how far they have come is an indication of a hardworking nation. They are a good example of a people who are determined t develop with the passing of each day. Nations all over the world should emulate the Thai people in terms of their independence and self will. The world would be a better place if communities held on to values like those of the Thai community. Holding on to one’s values and beliefs ensures that one is not misunderstood and that they have their identity guarded. This is the case displayed by the Thai community. Communities need to learn the importance of retaining their identity and passing these values to the future generations. The morality across the globe would improve a great deal if communities were to pass on their values and beliefs to younger generations.
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