Thai spirit houses
A new video explaining Thai spirit houses to foreigners is getting many views on our website. It’s a good listening exercise and I’ve provide a transcript to make the text easier to understand. The accent is Australian, incidentally.
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Thai spirit houses
The spirit world is everywhere in Thailand where animism and folk beliefs are deeply infused with Buddhism. They come in all shapes and sizes from the very small to the very large.
Call them an all-in-one home contents, theft, fire and flood alternate insurance policy if you will, these Thai spirit houses are a shrine to the protective spirit of a place and are positioned in an auspicious spot most often in the corner of a property, home or business. High enough to show respect, but low enough to enable daily offerings.
The house is intended to provide shelter to the spirits that could cause all manner of problems if not appeased. These little shrines often include images of people and animals. Votive offerings are left at the house on a daily basis to soothe the spirits.
These daily offerings of food, water, toys, candles, joss sticks and flowers if bestowed regularly and sincerely will then allow the householder to gain confidence and mental strength in order to lead a successful life and perform only good acts.
This large spirit house located right next to the Chitlom BTS station is one of the largest in Bangkok and almost acts as a small temple where passersby pay homage.
At the very least, you will see a large percentage of Thais wai as they pass in acknowledgement of the spirits. Many spirit houses or Saan Pha Phum in Thai are located adjacent a sacred tree such as the one here. You’ll notice the building is built to accommodate the tree so as to preserve every limb and branch. A house or business built around a sacred tree is said to be particularly ideally located.
Thai people firmly believe that if the spirits of happy, their homes and workplaces will be safe and happy too.