Salutation to royalty

In Thailand, we will stand up when the royal anthem and the national anthem are played. If you have ever gone to a movie theatre in Thailand before, you will see that before the film starts, the Thai people will stand up when the Royal anthem is played. Standing up for the royal anthem is meant to show your respect to His Majesty the king.

For understanding Thai culture and know more about Thai people, we are going to introduce the information about the salutation to the King and Royalty in Thai culture and Thai etiquette as the details below:

1 . Old-style ceremonial salutation

 This is traditionally performed before the King during important royal ceremonies. To make this salutation, one (male or female) must prepare by kneeling down and resting one's hips on the heels, with the feet in a vertical position. The hands are placed palms down just above the knees. Men may sit with their knee apart, while women must keep their knees close together. The next three steps are as follows:

Step 1 - Join the palms of both hand and raise them to the chest, holding them straight upwards. 

Step 2 - Raise them to the forehead, the tips of the thumbs lightly touching it. Look up and throw the head back slightly while doing this. 


Step 3 - Lower the joined palms to the chest.

Repeat the three steps twice more (9 steps in all ) and then place the hands, palms down, just above the knees again.

Women rarely use this salutation except when they are required to perform it together with men in their own group. Where there are only women in the group, a similar traditional salutation with half-prostration in a crouching position is performed.

2. Half -prostration in a crouching position

This is performed when in audience with the King or high-ranking royalty. It consists of sitting sideways on the floor, legs tucked back and in, and lowering the upper part of the body, with the elbows resting alongside one of the knees and the hands clasped together. The palms are then joined and the forehead lowered to touch them. Having done this once, one may resume the sideways crouching position before straightening up the remain sitting sideways as at the beginning. 

3. Western-style salutation towards the King and high-ranking royalty

Men bow their heads and bend the upper part of their bodies to a suitable extent.

Women curtsey in either of the following ways: 

3.1 Western-style - Stand erect and look towards the royal personage. Step back on one foot and lower the knees while keeping the head and back straight. Leave the hands at one's sides and keep the eyes down. Then stand up. 

3.2 Royal favorite - Stand erect and look towards the royal personage. Step back with the left foot and lower the knees. While doing this, place the right hand on top of the left above the knee. Bend the body slightly and keep the eyes down. Then stand up.

Western-style salutation


Thai etiquette. [cited 2015 Nov 23].
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Patcharee  Tasai

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