What is a Mongkol?
The Mongkol headband worn by Muay Thai fighters during their pre-fight Wai kru dance is something audiences see so often. But do they know the hidden meaning of this storied accessory? For the fighters, the Mongkol is a talisman that supposedly brings prosperity to its wearer. It is usually made from holy thread or raw fibers that have been consecrated by Muay Thai masters before being wrapped and bound into a band that is worn around the head, with a long tail hanging down the back.
The Mongkol supposedly originated from the legend of a master who was skilled in the magical arts. According to the story, he conducted a ritual where he hypnotized a snake into biting its own tail, forming a circular shape, and then roasting it dry. Afterwards, he submerged the snake in holy water made from coconut oil and herbs. Then, he bound the snake circle in a talisman cloth and gave it to one of his students to keep on their person whenever they went out to battle.
Today, the Mongkol is used as an accessory to symbolize tradition and culture rather than beliefs like in the olden days. Nevertheless, it is still considered to be a crucial aspect of Muay Thai.