History and Significance of Sawaddee

OV Digital Desk

“Sawaddee” is a common greeting in Thai language, it is used as a polite way of saying “hello” or “welcome.” It can be used in both formal and informal situations and is an important part of Thai culture. It is commonly used in casual and informal situations and can also be used as a farewell greeting.

The word “Sawaddee” is composed of two words “Sawa” (สวาสดิ์) and “dii” (ดี), which means “good” and “be” respectively, so it’s a polite way of saying “be good” or “good to see you”.

Other ways to greet someone in Thai include “Sawaddee krap” for males and “Sawaddee kaa” for females, which is a polite way of saying hello and is used in formal situations. On 22 January 2020, Google Doodle celebrated the custom of ‘Sawaddee’.

Origin of word Sawaddee

Originally coined by linguist Phraya Upakit Silapasan from the root word, “Svasti,” the Sanskrit word for “blessing” or “well-being,” sawaddee soon became an official part of the Thai vocabulary.

Known as the “Land of a Thousand Smiles,” Thailand is world-renowned for its friendly people and gracious hospitality. Today, sawaddee can be heard across the country—from the idyllic beaches of the south, to the temples of the mountainous north, and everywhere in between—epitomizing the welcoming spirit of Thailand.

Significance of Sawaddee

The use of “Sawaddee” is a reflection of the traditional Thai values of politeness, respect, and hospitality. Greeting someone with “Sawaddee” is a way of showing respect and acknowledging the presence of the person you are greeting.

In Thai culture, the use of polite language and respectful gestures is an important aspect of social interactions, and the greeting is an important part of establishing a positive and respectful relationship. It is common to use “Sawaddee” and other polite greetings when meeting someone for the first time, and it is also used as a way of showing appreciation and gratitude.

Additionally, “Sawaddee” is also a way to show that you are aware and respectful of Thai culture, which is considered as a sign of good manners and open-mindedness when you are in Thailand or interacting with Thai people.

Overall, “Sawaddee” is a simple but powerful word that reflects the importance of respect and politeness in Thai culture and language.