Wai Kru Day พิธีไหว้ครู

Wai Kru พิธีไหว้ครู

The idea of honoring teachers is all but lost in the West, but here in Thailand it is alive and well, especially on Wai Kru day.

Wai kru flowers from students.

The wai kru ceremony พิธีไหว้ครู is a Thai holiday in which students pay respects to their teachers to show their gratitude. It is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday about a month after school begins (our school year started in mid May). Students give their teachers flowers on platform called a phan. Obviously, giving flowers is a nice gesture, but each flower has a meaning.

Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about the offerings:

The traditional offerings for wai khru represent a symbolism of student qualities, namely:

  • Ixora (khem, เข็ม) flowers, which while closed form pointed buds, symbolizing sharp wit.
  • Cynodon dactylon (ya phraek, หญ้าแพรก or Bermuda grass), the rapid growth and resilience of which symbolize perseverance and the ability to learn.

    Bermuda grass

  • Popped rice (khao tok, ข้าวตอก), which symbolizes discipline.

    Khao tok – popped rice

  • Eggplant flowers, which bow low when nearing fruiting, symbolizing respect and humility.

    Eggplant flower

Wow! That really puts the despicable bermuda grass in a whole new light – perseverance, hmm, that’s true enough, I like that new perspective. I love the symbolism.

Here’s what we made at Panyaden:

Teachers sculpting the phan

Students making the flower phan

Kru Goy with the bags of rose petals you can buy at the local market for 20 baht

Learning to sew banana leaves

I was taught how to make this lovely flower offering

I love these flowers. I found out they are called dok rak, meaning love flower. They’re so cool looking!

Here was my final product

These were the offerings from our class

Aren’t they beautiful? It makes me feel fortunate to live in a place where teachers are honored…and in such a lovely way.

Happy where I work. Happy in Thailand.

Students offering teachers the flowers on Wai Kru Day.


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