Thai Spirits


Thai spirits and spirit houses next to a bodhi tree in chiang mai thailand.

Thailand is a Buddhist country, but Animism is also omnipresent and interwoven in daily prayers and religious ceremonies, especially in rural parts and the North.

Spirits and ghosts live everywhere in Thailand. Unlike in western culture where they are mostly feared and  banished, Thai people pay a particular respect to them.

Flowers, incense, or food is placed in front of shops, on the bows of boats or in front of Buddhist icons. Brightly-coloured ribbon is wrapped around trees or other objects. These are all offerings to the spirits that reside there.

One common feature representing Spirit worship seen in most parts of Thailand is the “Spirit House” called San Phra Phum in Thai (roughly meaning Abode of the Land’s Guardian Spirit).

These Spirit Houses usually made of teakwood or concrete are often in the shape of small temples or Thai style houses raised above the ground on a pillar. Inside can be found little figurines or an image of Phra Chai Mongkol, an angel like figurine, often gilded, and holding a sword in one hand and a money bag in the other.

Each day fresh flowers & food as well as lit candles & incense sticks are placed either on or close by the Spirit House to ensure that the spirits maintain karma and protection.

In this photo I took in Chiang Mai, gauze ribbons in assorted colors are tied around an old bodhi tree. Next to it lies a Spirit House, which strangely is placed on the ground instead of a pillar.

I have found a new interest in this tradition so more info will come in the future concerning Animism and Spirit Houses.

Enjoy!