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The cultural significance of fruit carving in Thai heritage was explored during a festival held last weekend at the Thai Mart in Diyar Al Muharraq.
The four-day Thai Fruit festival, under the theme ‘The Fruit Paradise’, offered citizens and residents an opportunity to sample delicious fresh and dried fruits from Thailand. It ran from last Wednesday to Saturday.
Amongst the many activities that were part of the event was the graduation of a class of fruit carvers and nylon flower creators, who completed a six-month course in the subjects.
“The origins of fruit and vegetable carving in Thai history date back to the Loi Krathong festivals of the 14th century Sukothai era,” Thai ambassador Thanis Na Songkhla told GulfWeekly.
“It is said that in 1364 one of King Phra Ruang’s servants wanted to create a unique decoration for her raft, carving a flower and a bird for that purpose. The king was so impressed by the elegance and beauty of the carving that he decreed that every woman should learn this new art.
“Throughout the centuries, fruit and vegetable carving enjoyed changing popularity, sometimes almost disappearing and at other times being a favourite pastime even practiced by kings.
“At present the basics of this art are taught in Thailand in primary and secondary schools as well as in optional courses at some universities, mainly as an effort to raise the interest of young Thais in their cultural heritage.”
Five women - Chommapat Neilson, Maneephan Muqaddisi, Natnaree Hormtrakulkajorn, Chanjira Kutsaranupap and Napassorn Suebwongklai – completed the six-month course conducted by the Thai embassy in Bahrain.
The programme was conducted online in Thai, due to Covid-19 restrictions, by Chutima Hunnara and Tarinee Yingyai, professional chefs who work at the Thai ambassador’s residence.
The Thai embassy is planning to start another cohort of lessons, this time in English and Thai, due to the success of the programme, hopefully before the end of the year.
Alongside fruit carving, Kanyarat Sujamnong, Ketwadee Contreras and Jidaphar Richardson, in addition to Chommapat, Maneephan, Natnaree, Chanjira and Napassorn, completed a course in nylon flower creation.
The festival was organised by Vega Thai Mart Bahrain and Thailand-based Vega Intertrade and Exhibitions, in partnership with the Thai embassy and Thai Department of International Trade Promotion.
The festival featured more than 20 participants including Thai Mart vendors, wholesalers and retailers, showcasing their fruit-based products including personal care products, accessories, souvenirs, fresh fruit, dried fruits, desserts, and beverages.
For more details, follow @thaiembassybahrain on Instagram.