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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Spirit House

As a Buddhist country, Thailand has plenty of beliefs and practices arising from Animism or Spirit Worship. A major feature of animistic practice is the spirit house. Its purpose is to provide dwelling for spirits or celestial beings on land. Thais believe that spirits are either good or evil and most expect respect from humans, like being informed if humans would want to start a business in a certain spot. If these spirits aren't, they can cause disastrous interference to any venture. (Reference: Chiangmai and Chiangrai)

A Thai spirit house can be seen in front of homes, hospitals, company buildings, everywhere. You can see it "on a pedestal in front of every hotel. It dresses the corner garden area of a restaurant ... at outdoor food markets. They are built on the grounds of Buddhist temples, outside caves in the mountains, near fishing ponds in the valleys, and occasionally in the middle of an otherwise uninhabited forest." (Source: Uniquely Thai)

This is a spirit house in front of a university on a rainy day. Everyday employees pass by it as they scan their finger in computers beside the gate to report for work. Buddhist/Thai employees wai at it. The international staff, some after having been around for many years, tend to duck their heads as they make their way in and out the campus.

The same spirit house at night.


My World Tuesday is brought to you by Klaus and the My World Team Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Sylvia

18 comments:

ewok1993 said...

thank you for such an informative post.

Hazel said...

You're welcome, Ewok

Carver said...

Very interesting post and photographs.

Indrani said...

I had seen them, never knew so much about them. Thank you so much for explaining. :)

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots. Seeing for the first time, anything like this.

Hazel said...

Thank you Carver, Indrani and Rajesh

Al said...

That is fascinating. There's something like this in my local Thai restaurant on the counter, and I think you just explained what it is. I never asked them, because I didn't want to seem like an ignorant American!

Thom said...

I've never heard of these. Maybe I should live in one. LOL. Seriously the are cool looking. It would seem to me that you would have to have a big piece of property to own one. They look huge. Thanks for sharing. Wai Here means water.

Hazel said...

Al, I guess I wouldn't ask either if it was the other way around for me, lol!

J Bar said...

Great shots.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Hazel said...

Not necessarily, Thom. Small property, small spirit house, something like that :) Thanks for sharing your 'wai.'

Sylvia K said...

Such a very interesting and informative post! One of the things I love most about blogging is how much I have learned about other countries, communities, religions and I think that kind of knowledge is what we all need to make all of our worlds better places in which to live! Thank you! And thank you for your visit and comment, always appreciated! Hope you have a wonderful week, Hazel!

Sylvia

Hazel said...

Sylvia, indeed! I am enjoying the learning from many different places, and with all the beautiful photos to boot in many blogs. Thank you for stopping by.

Marites said...

Interesting! it looks nice too. have a good week! My world entry is here

darly said...

wow, that's one interesting post. learned a lot. i guess there's one form or another of animism in all religions.

Ebie said...

Besides the great information you shared about the Spirit House, I am so intrigued with this high tech finger scan. Its like the movies!

One thing I have learned about Thai people (I worked with 3), they are so religious.

Hazel said...

Marites, thanks.

Darly, glad you learned something :)

Hazel said...

Ate Eb, the bosses seem to reckon card-swiping was getting outdated. they made us all do finger scan for awhile now :)