You don’t need to be an expert on Thai culture to know that Thai people are a superstitious bunch.
And while superstitions in Southeast Asian cultures are not unusual, Thailand takes it to a completely different level.
Many superstitions involve spirits, ghosts and bad luck. Some are nothing more than ‘old wives tales’, spook stories or fables that a grandmother will tell her grandchildren, while others can even be stated as fact.
One of the more bizarre superstitions in Thailand involves twins.
Some Thai people have the belief that male and female twins must get married.
Parents believe that twins who are born together have a shared ‘karma’.
The superstition follows an old Buddhist belief that twins were lovers in a former life and that it is bad luck if the twins are not married off at the earliest opportunity.
The belief is that unless the twins get married to each other their lives will forever be haunted with bad luck from their previous life.
If they don’t get married, they will not be able to find happiness in life or achieve academic success, which in turn will damage their career prospects. It is also believed that if they don’t get married they will develop illnesses or get sick regularly and if one twin becomes ill, so will the other.
The marriage sees the twins take part in a traditional Buddhist wedding ceremony, which is normally held before their tenth birthday.
The wedding ceremony follows all the traditions of a regular Thai wedding, with the bride and groom dressed in a wedding dress and suit.
There are even offerings of dowries, parades, dancing and a Buddhist monk to chant blessings during the ceremony.
Depending on the family, some of the wedding ceremonies can be quite lavish.
But while the ‘marriage’ is in line with local customs, it is only held for ceremonial purposes.
The wedding is not legally binding and the twins are still able to marry their own partners when they grow up.
The marriage of twins in Thailand can often feature in local news bulletins, normally as part of a feel good piece after the news and sport.
In one such report from 2021, parents from Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Weerasak and wife Rewadee, held a wedding ceremony at their home for their twins Washirawit Bee Moosika and his sister Rinrada Breem.
Weerasak said he and his wife followed Buddhist teachings and believed that unless their twins were married their lives would be plagued by bad luck.
Proud mum Rewadee said: “I feel so lucky to have twins but I’m concerned that there is something following them from their previous lives. Our belief is that they should be married in order to clear that karma.”
Weerasak said that if their children were not married then one or both of them would become sick until they got married.
Weerasak said he and his wife had no choice but to hold a wedding ceremony for his children.
“We believe that if your children were born twins who have a different gender, they must be married or else one of them will fall ill later in their lives,” Weerasak said.
“We are only doing this to make sure our children are safe. We do not want them to be sick and there is nothing to lose if we follow this belief,” he added.
The superstitions about marrying twins have nothing to do with Thailand’s other famous twins – Chang and Eng Bunker, who died in 1874.
The brothers, who were born in Samut Songkhram in Siam, as it was then known, were taken to the United States in 1829.
Chang and Eng later became American citizens and married two sisters from North Carolina. They went on to father a total of 21 children.
Their respective families lived in separate houses with the brothers taking alternative three day stints to stay at their family home.
Chang and Eng’s fame helped to coin the expression “Siamese twins”.