Boats in Thailand, especially wooden Thai boats have their prows adorned with colored ribbons, sashes and or garlands of flowers, the reason for this is Thai people are very superstitious and believe that there are many spirits and deities watching over them, if the spirits and deities are not treated with due respect then the protection or reward expected may not be forthcoming. The decoration on the prow of Thai boats is to pay respect to “Mae Yanang”, it is said that Mae Yanang is a female spirit which resides in the body of the boat, it is also said that Mae Yanang is the Goddess of travel, by paying respect to Mae Yanang passengers on a boat can expect her protection and be assured a safe journey.
The photo above shows a typical wooden Thai boat with it’s prow adorned with colored sashes so that it will be protected by Mae Yanang.
The photo above shows 2 small Thai fishing boats, one adorned with sashes / ribbons, the other with both sashes or ribbons and flower garlands. This is a common sight on boats in Thailand and one which reinforces the belief which the people of Thailand have in spirits, deities and divine protection.