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Spirit houses

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Spirit house
Spirit house
Every Thai house or Thai building has a house of spirits. The spirit house size is related to the owner's house. The biggest it is, the biggest the spirit house shall be.

Every morning the owner of the house shall feed the spirits. It was mandatory to install a spirit house when building a new house. In fact the house is made for the spirit of the land. It calms the spirit and assure good blessings for the owner of the house.

Spirit house
Spirit house
Everywhere in Thailand, spirit houses can be seen. Everywhere means individual houses, factories, hotels, restaurants, temples and even along roads where deadly crashes happened.

The spirit house is normally standing on a single pillar.

Spirit house
Spirit house
Flowers, food, drinks and also little figurines representing servants, dancers, elephants, horses, cars are given to the spirit of the land. The dancers shall entertain him. The elephants and horses shall transport him.

A spirit house must not be in the shade of the main building.

Spirit house
Spirit house
Everywhere in Thailand, shops sell spirit houses and shrines to embed ancestors' ashes.

Such small houses can also be found in Thai Buddhist temples. When raising a new building, the old building must be destroyed. In such case, the old spirit house is sent to a Buddhist temple.

Spirit house
Spirit house
In locations where traffic accidents have caused deaths, Thai people also install spirit houses. A red flag is sometimes also erected on the accident spot.

The spirit house (ศาลพระภูมิ) is normally topped with a typical Khmer architectural prang.

Spirit house
Spirit house
Some owners may take care very well of their Spirit House. Some owners may not clean it very often and let dirt accumulate.
Spirit house
Spirit house
A small table is placed in front of the Spirit House. Food offerings are put on this small table.


Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Village spirit house


Village spirit house
Village spirit house
In Thailand, many villages have also their spirit house dedicated to the whole village. The spirit for a whole village is called "CHAO PHO" - เจ้าพ่อ.
Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Once a year the village spirit "CHAO PHO" (เจ้าพ่อ) is offered food. Villagers together offer food such as chicken, cookies and sweet desserts.

In 2006, airports of Thailand held a religious rite at the new Suvarnabhumi airport to ward off evil spirits. The religious ceremony was overseen by 99 monks chanting to improve the luck of the new airport. A man showed up claiming to be "POO MING", a guardian spirit of the land partially developed into the airport. The man said a proper spirit house must be built at the airport to allow for its smooth operation.

Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Thai homes and buildings traditionally erect shrines for their resident deities known as "PHRA PHUM" (พระภุมูมิ) and "CHAO THI" (เจ้าที่). Spirit houses prior to the economic boom in the 1960s were simple wood or concrete structures. Since then they have become significantly larger and more ostentatious.

Gerally located at the edge of the forest, the village spirit house is usually a simple hut of wood and bamboo built on stilts. Yearly sacrifice to the ancestral spirits are done by all the village households.

Village spirit house
Village spirit house
The village spirit "CHAO PHO" (เจ้าพ่อ) may live in a large tree outside the temple fence or at the village periphery. People visit the village spirit to try to repel misfortune, the bad death brought by traffic accidents or diseases.
Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Offerings to spirits is done at early morning. Food given to spirits is taken from the food given to people.

When a building is demolished, sold or rumored to be a bad luck site, the spirit house is then thrown away! People who care of spirits might place it under a banyan tree inside a Buddhist temple where it will accumulate alongside with other old spirit houses.

Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Normally when children are new born or when going on trip, owners of the house shall inform the spirit house.

Most Thai people don't keep previous owners' spirit house because they are linked to the spirits from a previous site.

Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Local people honor ("WAI CHAO" - ไหว้เจ้า) spirits through offerings such as rice alcohol, flowers (lotus, garlands...), incense, sweets, pork leg or pork head.
Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Big village spirit house made of wood with a tin roof and located at the edge of the village itself.
Village spirit house
Village spirit house
The house for village spirit "CHAO PHO" (เจ้าพ่อ) might be a standard spirit house.
Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Another village spirit house made of wood and located at the edge of the village itself.
Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Some richer villages adorn their village spirit house with multiple beautiful patterns and garlands.


Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Village spirit house
Village spirit house


Spirits shrine
Spirits shrine
ศาลตายาย - "SAN TA YAI" is the shrine for the "Grandfather and Grandmother" or the local guardian spirits.
Spirits shrine
Spirits shrine
Such shrine is erected in memory of the people who have stayed before in this land centuries ago.
Spirits shrine
Spirits shrine
As often in Thailand, there is a mix between animism and Buddhism. Monks are invited for the shrine erection.
Spirits shrine
Spirits shrine
After Buddhist prayers are finished, food is offered to monks.
Spirits shrine
Spirits shrine
"SAN TA YAI" (shrine for the previous inhabitants on this piece of land) is different from the "SAN PHRA PHUM" (spirit of the house).
Spirits shrine
Spirits shrine
The "SAN TA YAI" shrine is located at the back of the house.
Spirits shrine
Spirits shrine
Many offerings are given to the "Grandfather and Grandmother" or the local guardian spirits.

Recently arrived habitants shall always ask for the protection and blessing of local guardian spirits.

Spirits shrine
Spirits shrine
A small figurine is representing the previous "Grandfather and Grandmother", who stayed on this land before.
Spirits shrine
Spirits shrine
Many offerings are given to the "Grandfather and Grandmother" or the local guardian spirits.


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