Date 04/09/2015

Fresh Flower Garlands

Historical Background

The Thais’ forefathers had created a great variety of handicrafts, especially the crafts of flowers, leaves, fruits, and other organic materials,which was made mainly of jasmine flowers, white colour, into garlands with creative, multi-colour designs by adding several other kinds of leaves and flowers to the original jasmine ones, resulting in a beautiful new style.


"Malai” (Thai flower garlands) is a type of flower crafts that uses flowers, petals, and other parts of flowers to be strung together. There are a great variety of Malai designs, from traditional style to new style, which comprises variations of the traditional style.

Components of Malai
  1. Body : the main part of the garland of which the cross-section may be round, flat, ellipsoidal, triangular, square, or the body may be a solid form, etc.
  2. Uba : or "tassel” part of the Malai. There are several styles of Uba e.g. Uba Khaek, Uba Phu and Uba Tung Ting.
  3. Sik : is made of flowers strung in semi-circular cross-sectioned shape used for covering the connecting part between the body and Uba. The size of Sik must be suitable for the size of the Malai for overall balance.
  4. Ribbon : is part of the Malai which is used for hanging over the neck, or being part of small Malai given as souvenirs or hand Malai given to chairperson of event or honoured guests.
Types of Malai
  1. Categorized by usage
    1. Malai Chai Diao (single-tassel Malai)
      Is a round-shaped Malai with single Uba (tassel), also called Malai Mue (hand Malai), Malai Kho Mue (wrist Malai) or Malai Khlong Khaen (Malai for arm hanging). If this type of Malai is used for given to member of royal family, it is called Malai Kho Phra Kon (wrist Malai – using Royal form of Thai language). Malai Chai Diao is generally used for hanging on wrist or arm, or for making worship to the Buddha image.
    2. Malai Song Chai (double-tassel Malai)
      This type of Malai is normally tied with a ribbon, with a tassel on each side of the garland. It is used to hang over the neck of important persons in an event, as well as used for hanging on the front of a car or a boat. It is also called Malai Khlong Kho (neck Malai), or if used for hanging over the necks of bridegroom and bride, it is called Malai Bao Sao (bride and groom Malai).
    3. Malai Cham Ruai (souvenir Malai)
      Malai Cham Ruai are small Malai given to guests who attend an event as a token of thanks.
  2. Categorized by design
    1. Malai Sik or Siao : is the Malai of which the cross-section is half-circular or smaller part of a circle.
    2. Malai Klom : is the Malai of which the cross-section is circular, and the shape is cylindrical with regular diameter along the length.
    3. Malai Baen : is the Malai of which the cross-section is flat, made by extending the petals at both ends of the long sides and reducing the length of petals at short sides.
    4. Malai Ri : is ellipsoidal in cross-section, with regular size of cross-section along the length.
    5. Malai Sam Liam : triangular Malai, of which the cross-section is triangular, with regular size of cross-section along the length.
    6. Malai Si Liam : square Malai, of which the cross-section is square, with regular size of cross-section along the length.
    7. Malai Tum : Malai of which the shape is tapered at both ends, overall shape is eye-shaped, rounded at middle part of the body.
    8. Malai Tua Non : Malai of which the shape is elongated, tapered at both ends, similar to Malai Tum but longer.
    9. Malai Tua Non Khu : Malai made by making two connecting Malai Tum.
    10. Malai Sam Kasat : is the Malai made by stringing the globe amaranth flowers in layers, using the flowers of 3 colours ; red, pink and white, hence the name "Sam Kasat” (three kings).
    11. Malai Phuang Dok Mai : made by stringing flowers in long laces, then the laces are tied to form a loop.
  3. Categorized by structure
    1. Malai Tua Sat : is the Malai made to look like animals e.g. mouse, squirrel, treeshrew, rabbit, gibbon, etc.
    2. Malai Pia : made by making Malao Klom and Malai Tum assembled together by connecting rings of Malai Klom in the middle part, which is connected to a Malai Tum at each end.
    3. Malai Thao : is made by rings of Malai Sik, from large to smaller ones, connected together in tier.
    4. Malai Khrui : is made by large Malai Klom decorated with Uba Tung Ting all around the body, used for wearing diagonally over the right shoulder to the left side of the body.
    5. Malai Dok Kluai Mai : is the Malai of which the body is made entirely of orchids (Kluai Mai), without any other kinds of flowers.


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