In the history of Thailand, the Kingdom of Sukhothai was an important milestone during the years 1238-1438. Before the kingdom, the area was ruled by Khmer Kingdom. The name Sukhothai comes from the Sanskrit language and means “the birth of happiness”.
During the Sukhotai era king Ram Khamhaeng made many important cultural innovations that are still in use in Thailand. Among others, he developed Thai script and established Theravada buddhism as the state religion.
Carving of vegetables became a common custom to decorate festivities and ceremonies. A legend has it that concubine Nopharmas wrote a book that gave advice on how to decorate traditional ceremonies. The ceremony of floating lanterns, Prarajchapiteejoongprennaiwanpenduansibsong, as Thai call it, was one topic for improvements. Traditionally lanterns were decorated with flowers. The book recommended that also birds, animals, and flowers carved from vegetables were proper decorative elements for lanterns.
Carvings have also been used to decorate the dining tables of nobility and other important persons. Fruit carving was considered a proper past time for females in Thail nobility, and they were taught the skill.
Nowadays fruit carving is quite wide spread in Thailand. There are special knives for it. Thai schools teach basic skills, and higher level institutions give courses on the topic.