Happy New Year 2565

Season’s Greetings from the south end of Phuket in the Kingdom of Thailand.

The year, 2565.

I’ve been having a bit of a kick wishing folks in my circles “Happy New Year 2565” and getting the reactions—from “huh” by my ex-wife to “is that some Asian thing?” from others.

So, the first thing to understand is that Thais don’t know Jesus Christ from Mel’s Diner. And they never have. Picture yourself growing up in a land where the culture and generations have never been exposed to Christian beliefs or ways and only have a dull sense of the fact that there are other worlds with other traditions, customs, relics, idols, etc. Christianity in Thailand is so miniscule it’s not even noticed. Islam is a bit in your face in the south (I live about 1 KM from a mosque here in Phuket). Still, it’s maybe only 10% here, and has absolutely zero sway in anything political so far as I can tell.

The principle downside of Islam here is that they have all the females in head-to-toe coverings, so almost all of them get fat. Do you see the downside of religious modesty and the upside of bikinis?

In Thailand, two main calendar systems are used alongside each other: the Thai solar calendar, based on the Gregorian calendar and is used for official and most day-to-day purposes, and the Thai lunar calendar (a version of the Buddhist calendar, technically a lunisolar calendar), used for traditional events and Buddhist religious practices.

The use of the solar calendar was introduced in 1889 by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), replacing the lunar calendar in official contexts. The beginning of the year was originally marked as April 1st, however this was changed to January 1st in 1941. The days and months now correspond exactly to the Gregorian calendar. The years follow the Buddhist Era, introduced in 1913 to replace the Rattanakosin Era, which in turn replaced the Chula Sakarat in 1889. The reckoning of the Buddhist Era in Thailand is 543 years ahead of the Common Era (Anno Domini), so the year 2021 CE corresponds to B.E. 2564.

The lunar calendar contains 12 or 13 months in a year, with 15 waxing moon and 14 or 15 waning moon days in a month, amounting to years of 354, 355 or 384 days. The years are usually noted by the animal of the Chinese zodiac, although there are several dates used to count the New Year.

As with the rest of the world, the seven-day week is used alongside both calendars. The solar calendar now governs most aspects of life in Thailand, and while official state documents invariably follow the Buddhist Era, the Common Era is also used by the private sector. The lunar calendar determines the dates of Buddhist holidays, traditional festivals and astrological practices, and the lunar date is still recorded on birth certificates and printed in most daily newspapers.

On a practical matter, when out reading English publications from around Thailand, you have to know what the Thai year is to have a sense of how current the article is.

By far the most annoying thing is that because of my IP address location being Thailand, all search results from Google or anyone, is in Thai calendar. So, for instance, I google something and included in results is something from the New York Times. Date of the piece? Thai calendar. So, it’s best to just always have in mind what year it is, for reference.

Subtracting 543 gets old.

…A couple of food pics. First is the “half English” from Islander. Second is my own thing here. Chopped up leftover french fries in an omelet alongside a bit of leftover plain omelet, and a tub of Bulgarian yogurt. The red is cayenne, not paprika.

The papaya tree in my backyard says hi.

May your 2565 be less fucked.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

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