Mythical creature Naga announced as a symbol of Thai culture

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The Cabinet announced yesterday that the mythical creature Naga will be used as a symbol of Thai culture to promote the kingdom’s creative economy.

The Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson, Ratchada Thanadirek reported the news to the gathering Thai press pack yesterday that the Cabinet agreed to use the mythical giant serpent, Naga or Phraya Nak in Thai, as a symbol of the nation’s identity.

Ratchada said that the Cabinet wants to encourage residents to learn more about Thailand’s history and culture. Moreover, they want the mythical creature to inspire people to craft unique products and boost Thailand’s soft power and creative economy.

The National Culture Committee has been charged to work with the Fine Arts Department to design an official national symbol of Naga. The symbol will incorporate the four species of Nagas in gold, green, rainbow, and black.

According to a report by the Ministry of Culture, 157 countries across the world use 229 mythical creatures as their national animals or identities. Some nations have two creatures. For example, China has a dragon as well as a panda, Indonesia has a Garuda and a Komodo dragon, and Greece has a dolphin and a phoenix. Thailand, of course, also has an elephant.

Thai people have believed in the existence of Naga for a long time, especially locals in the northeastern provinces who live along the Mekong River. Thais consider Naga to be the guardian of Buddhism and a creature capable of communicating with both the natural and spiritual world.

Many Thai ceremonies and activities are related to Naga. For example, the Naga Fireball Festival or Bang Fai Phraya Nak, the Illuminated Boat Procession, and the Rains Retreat or Ok Phansa Day.

Naga can also be found in Thai-style architecture, especially at temples. Most Thai temples decorate their staircases to the main hall with the mythical Naga.

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