Thailand's official national religion is Theravada Buddhism. About 95 percent of the country practices this religion and has since the 13th century.
Although most of the population of Thailand practices Buddhism, the country strongly believes in the freedom of religion. Other religions are treated with kindness, dignity and respect. Around 4 percent of Thailand's population are Muslim and 0.5 percent are Christians.
Thailand is home to almost 30,000 Buddhist temples ranging in size from large and elaborate, to small village buildings. No matter the size, these temples provide everything from religious texts to places to hold meetings, celebrations and recreational activities.
Another important aspect of Buddhism is the Buddhist Sangha. The Sangha is an order of ordained monks whose job it is to uphold religious traditions and teach others the Buddhist way of life. The religion is so important in the country that many young men live as monks for a few months. Although women are not allowed to participate in this tradition, many are lay practitioners of Buddhism. This means they handle everything the Buddhist monks cannot. Monks are not allowed to work, listen to music or handle money. The lay practitioners take over these tasks along with organizing events, keeping the temple clean and lighting candles and incense.