Every year, at schools across Thailand, a Wai Khru ceremony is held for students to show respect and gratitude to their teachers. The Wai is a Thai greeting that consists of a slight bow, with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion and Khru means teacher. According to this Theravada Buddhist tradition, students prepare flower arrangements as a symbol of gratitude toward their teachers for instructing them well in the past and to create good fortune for their future studies.
While the date of Wai Khru Day varies from school to school, the Wai Khru ceremony is typically held at the beginning of each academic year on a Thursday in June. Thursday is the chosen day for such a ceremony, since this day is considered auspicious for special events involving education. At our Half Day School in Mae Sai District, this year’s Wai Khru ceremony was held on Thursday, June 12th.
This year’s Wai Khru Day at the Half Day School was a joyous event. Wai Khru ceremony preparations began the day before, with students creating beautiful flower arrangements to present to their teachers. It is customary for students to present teachers with offerings of flowers, candles, and incense arranged on a phan (traditional Thai pedestalled trays). Students spent all day Wednesday practising the Wai Khru chant and crafting gorgeous arrangements into a variety of fun shapes including a turtle and a swan!
The day of the event began with the customary recitation of the Wai Khru chant, which expresses respect for and gratitude to the teachers, and asks for the teachers’ blessing of their studies, led by the school president. After the chant, representatives from each class presented teachers with the beautiful offerings that students had crafted the day before. Other students were then given the opportunity to offer small gifts of flowers and candles. After all the students had expressed their respect and gratitude to their teachers, the staff took time to recognize the hard work that the students put into their academic and vocational studies. Awards and Honours were given to students who have shown a strong work ethic and dedication to their studies.
The ceremony concluded with a speech given by Ms. Alinda Suya, Director of Projects, on the importance of respecting and honouring teachers. In her speech she advised students on the value of education and offered guidance. The festivities continued after the ceremony ended with a delicious and healthful lunch, followed by an afternoon filled with games!