All cultures believe in spirits. And all cultures have their own ways of pleasing the spirits. Prayers, offerings, and even tiny houses.
Although Thailand is predominately Buddhist, some beliefs and customs find their roots in Hinduism and animism. There is a deep-seeded belief in phi (spirits), and in Thai culture, there is a spirit for every aspect of life. Spirits can live in the rivers, trees, or homes. There is a spirit of rice, protection, and wind. Some spirits can be good, some can be bad, others can be mischevious. And every spirit can be appeased with a spirit house.
Adventurers traveling through Thailand might notice miniature temples outside of hotels, hostels, private homes, and businesses. These spirit houses are for the phra phum (spirit of the land)–the spirits that were present before humans arrived. The houses are usually on raised platforms and will reflect the size and success of the building it is meant to protect (i.e., a hostel’s spirit house won’t be as grand as a five-star hotel’s spirit house). Offerings are placed on the altars daily ranging from incense and flowers to fruit and Fanta.
But weary travelers, be warned! Even if the houses look adorable in their miniature elegance, do not mess with the spirit houses. According to beliefs, if you show any disrespect to the houses, malevolent spirits might attach themselves to you, and then only a mor phi (spirit doctor) can help you.
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