Thais do not use the Western calendar. They have their own. And they count birthdays (and anniversaries) different too. To Thais, when a baby is born he is one year old. So a child celebrating his first birthday in the West is two years old in Thailand. Yup, all you old coots are even more ancient in the Land of Smiles.

Of course since this is Thailand, Thai logic rules. And the ‘year older’ thing just isn’t confusing enough. So lets add in the date of a Thai’s birthday. My friend Noom’s birthday is December 4th. What? You have a Thai friend with the same birthday? Amazing! Or not . . .

When Thais have a child, they have until the end of the year to register their baby. It’s not a lot of cash to do so, but many families save money during the year to cover the registration fee. The date the child is registered becomes his official date of birth. So a lot more Thais are ‘born’ at the end of the year than at the beginning.

The King, who the Thai people love greatly, was born on December 5th. It would be rude and presumptuous to pick that date to be your child’s birthday. But registering a birth date close to it has got to be a good omen. So December 4 is a popular date.

A great bar trick is to offer to guess a guy’s birthday (uh, choose December 4th). Half the time you’ll get it right. Even if you are wrong you’ll get a wide eyed look of amazement and he’ll point at some other boy in the bar saying that it is his birthday!

Thais are a superstitious lot. Lucky numbers are big. Lucky colors, too. My friend Noom always wants blue because that is the color of his birthstone. Because he was born in December. Though he probably was really born in April. Gotta love Thailand!

So Happy Birthday to everyone who was born on this date.

We’ll be holding your party in December.