Thai Greeting “Sawasdee”
In Thailand, people in general greet one another with the word “Sawasdee”. This word can be used all times of day. A male would add the word “Krap” and a female the word “Ka” after “Sawasdee” to show politeness. The word Sawasdee can also be used when taking leave of someone or saying good-bye.
If the persons are friends or about the same age, the word Sawasdee alone is sufficient for greeting. A wai is a gesture of pressing the palms together in the position of a budding lotus at chest level, with the fingertips touching the tip of the nose. These are three levels of Wai.
- For the Buddha images or the monks only
- Raise the pressed palms until the thumbs touch the space between the eyebrows and the fingertips touch the hairline at the forehead. The tips of the index fingers are pressed againt the forehead. The tips of the index fingers are pressed againt the forehead, not tilting to the left or right. This is the 1st level Wai.
2. For parents, teachers, senior relatives and the elderly
- Raise the pressed palms until the thumbs touch the tip of the nose and the fingertips touch the space between the eyebrows. This is the 2nd level Wai.
3. For respected persons in general including persons of the same status
- Let the pressed palms touch the lower part of the face, with the tip of the chin and tile tips of the index fingers touching the nose. Bow the head a little without stooping for both male and female. This is 3rd level Wai.