Thailand Religious Records

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Buddhist Records[edit | edit source]

Buddhist temples keep records of death and cremations performed by and for the temple, and names of pilgrims visiting the temple. These records are kept at each temple. Death and cremation records may contain additional information on the deceased's family members. In connection with a cremation many families prepare a book about the deceased, giving vital statistical details along with personal accomplishments and honors they may have received. If the person was a scholar, a copy of one or two significant papers they authored may be included. If the deceased had family members living outside the country a reminiscence about the deceased may also be included. These are often in the language spoken in that country. These books are kept by the family and a copy is donated to the temple where the cremation was performed.

Wat Bowonniwet (Wat Bowon Niwet Wihan Ratchaworawihan) is a major temple in the central portion of Bangkok and has a substantial collection of records of cremations performed there. These records are being scanned by Thammasat University in Bangkok and are being placed online at Internet Archive. The temple also has a large card catalog describing each cremation book of which they have a copy.

Catholic Records[edit | edit source]

See Thailand Church Records - Roman Catholic.

Hindu Records[edit | edit source]

Fewer than one percent of the the population of Thailand are Hindu. The Khmer Empire, which governed much of Southeast Asia until 1431 had a strong Hindu influence, and the establishment of some places in Thailand can be traced to that time. In 1784 King Rama I established Devasathan (Thewasathan Bot Phram) temple in Bangkok.

Hindu Pilgrimage (Bahi)[edit | edit source]

These documents record the names of Hindus who make pilgrimages to sacred centers where certain religious rituals or ordinances are performed. They can be used to establishes individual identity and linkage back many generations. Some records date back as far as the 15th Century. However, the great majority are of the 18th Century to the present.

Generally these records include the name of the pilgrim, caste/occupation, birthplace, or family origin, present residence, father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc., sometimes going back many generations on both the maternal and paternal sides. Often names of sons, brothers, nephews, and cousins are given, each relationship being carefully and precisely indicated. Date of visit or register entry is given.

Islamic Records[edit | edit source]

Islamic Marriages (Kadi)[edit | edit source]

Islam has no priesthood, therefore no ordinances or sacraments. Marriages are entered into through a formal prenuptial agreement. The terms of the contract would be written and signed by the couple. Early marriages may have only required a spoken offer of marriage and acceptance. In either case, two male witnesses were essential to establishing the validity of the marriage.

These contracts contain the names and ages of the bride and groom, and date of the marriage. They may also include the birth dates and residences of the couple, the names of their parents or fathers. Generally, only the groom signed the contract. The contracts may also identify witnesses and any dower payments. In rare cases, a date of termination may also be stipulated. Contracts can be found in mosques and in the office of the marriage registrar and judge (Kazi). Earliest records date from about 1500.

Marriages (Kadi)[edit | edit source]

Islam has no priesthood, therefore no ordinances or sacraments. Marriages are entered into through a formal prenuptial agreement. The terms of the contract would be written and signed by the couple. Early marriages may have only required a spoken offer of marriage and acceptance. In either case, two male witnesses were essential to establishing the validity of the marriage.

These contracts contain the names and ages of the bride and groom, and date of the marriage. They may also include the birth dates and residences of the couple, the names of their parents or fathers. Generally, only the groom signed the contract. The contracts may also identify witnesses and any dower payments. In rare cases, a date of termination may also be stipulated. Contracts can be found in mosques and in the office of the marriage registrar and judge (Kazi). Earliest records date from about 1500.

Burial and Funeral (Janazah)[edit | edit source]

Religious law calls for bodies to be buried as quickly as possible after death, preferaby within 24 hours. Bodies are washed, wrapped in a white cotton or linen cloth (kafan), a prayer (Salat al-Janazah) offered, and the body entombed with the head facing Mecca. Cremation is forbidden by Islam as it is viewed as mutliation of the body. Registration of the death and burial follow local requirements.

Protestant Records[edit | edit source]

Sikh Records[edit | edit source]

The first Sikhs moved into Thonburi province in 1890 from Pakistan and India. The first temple (gurdwara) was built in the Phahurat neighborhood of Bangkok. According to a 2017 report by the United States' Department of State, there are about 70 thousand Sikhs in Thailand. Marriages (Anand Karaj) and parts of the funeral rite (Antam Sanskar) are performed in gurdwaras.


After death the body is washed and dressed, then taken to the gurdwara where hymns from scripture are recited. Following the service the body is removed to be cremated. Additional hymns are sung, and final messages of comfort offered. The oldest son or a close relative begins the cremation process. After cremation ashes are collected and immersed in a body of water. If cremation is not possible another respectful manner of disposing of the body way be employed. Registration of the death and cremation follow local ordinances.