In the U.S. our sports teams wear different colors and fans don the shades too to show their support. In Thailand, it’s political parties. First there were the yellow shirts, then the red shirts. The men in black made an appearance too, but we won’t count them since some say black is technically not a color. In any case, it’s nice to know who’s on your team just by the color of shirt they wear. But Thailand’s color obsession extends beyond politics. Every day of the week has a shade associated with it too. Politics, as it often does, just screwed up the Thai’s color wheel.
Thais believe the color for each day is lucky. So the color of the day of the week they were born on is their lucky color. And it’s serious business. Traditionally, Thais also believed that if they dress in the appropriate color for the day of the week it too would bring them good luck. This was more common in the past, nowadays not so much.
The daily colors come from astrology influenced by Hindu beliefs that assign a color for each day of the week. The color is based on the god who protects that day. For example, the god for Saturday is Shani, whose color is purple. Anyone born on Saturday considers purple then to be their lucky color.
Recently some genius has been marketing decals for people to stick to their cars to ‘correct’ the color of the vehicle. If purple is your lucky color you’d want a purple car. Especially the way that Thais drive. But purple cars are a bit difficult to find. So instead you buy a white one, slap on a purple decal, and you are good to go. Of course, this being Thailand the obvious should never be unstated so the sticker is not only in your lucky color but reads in Thai, for example, ‘This Car Is Purple.’
Before the politicos ripped off yellow and red for their devious use, Thais often wore the appropriate color shirt for each day of the week. Nice to not have to think about what to wear every day; if it was Friday, you’d know to slip on your blue shirt. It wasn’t that long ago – and you still see it to a small degree – that you would often see large numbers of locals wearing yellow on Mondays. That’s because the King was born on Monday; it was just another way to honor him.
That fad took off in 2006 as a celebration of the King’s 60th anniversary as monarch; millions of Thais started wearing yellow shirts on Mondays. That’s also why the Yellow Shirts picked that color to express their pollical allegiance – they consider themselves royalists and so adopted the King’s color. Of course now if you wear yellow on Monday it can be viewed as a political statement so fewer Thais do. But you will see many wearing Tuesday’s color, pink, on Monday instead.
In 2007, after a lengthy stay in the hospital, the king was released and wore a pink shirt and pink blazer when he appeared leaving the hospital. It was revealed that a Thai astrologer had foretold that wearing pink would help the king to heal and to remain healthy. As a result, a new fashion craze hit Thailand with millions rushing to buy pink polo shirts. Tens of thousands of pink wristbands inscribed with ‘Long Live the King’ were sold between his release from the hospital and his 80th birthday the following month. You still see lots of pink polo shirts for sale in Bangkok, often with the royal crest embroider on them and since pink has become a color associated with His Majesty’s good health, many Thais still wear pink on Mondays.
A year later the Yellow Shirts had their moment in the spotlight when they kidnapped the airport, and the red shirts offered a bit of payback by kidnapping the entire town the following year. Kinda screwed up the colors for both Sunday and Monday, and visitors today would do just as well to avoid wearing either color. Feel free to wear pink though, you might not get away with that back home but in Thailand everyone will think you are honoring the king. Or that it is Tuesday.
Related Posts You Might Enjoy: