THAILAND TRAVEL SPIRIT HOUSES

Thailand Travel: Spirit Houses

I’ve spend quite a long time in Southeast Asia over the past ten years of travelling, and one of the things I absolutely love about Thailand, are the spirit houses known as ‘san phra phum’ or ‘shrine of the guardian spirit’.

Spirit houses are such an important part of Thai culture and spirituality.

These miniature shrines that often look like ‘doll’s houses’ are not just decorative because they embody the reverence and respect Thai people have for the unseen forces they believe have influence over their lives.

It is believed they serve as a bridge between the material and spiritual worlds.

They are often ornately decorated and can be found throughout Thailand and in many other countries of Southeast Asia in various locations such as homes, businesses, temples, and even public spaces.

Spirit houses are often ornately decorated and can be found throughout Thailand
Spirit houses are often ornately decorated
THAILAND TRAVEL: Spirit Houses #thailand #thailandtravel #spirithouse
Spirit Houses in Thailand in less than 1 min!

WHAT IS A THAI SPIRIT HOUSE?

Spirit houses outside homes are built to provide a shelter for ancestors or guardian spirits or household deities known as ‘phi’ and these spirits are thought to bring protection, prosperity, and good fortune to the property and to its inhabitants.

So, it is believed, if you look after the spirits then they will look after you.

And, it is preferable that the spirits have a dwelling of their own, so they have no need to live inside the main house with the family!

Businesses also often have elaborate spirit houses to attract prosperity and ensure the success of their ventures.

Similarly, public spaces may have communal spirit houses to protect and bless the surrounding area.

Spirit houses come in various sizes, ranging from simple structures to elaborate miniature replicas of traditional Thai architecture.

It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor when it comes to providing a spirit with a house – but the wealthier the spirit house owner – then the more likely it is to be adorned with intricate carvings and painted in vibrant colours.

Many spirit homes will have miniature furniture, figurines, and animals.

I do love to peep inside to see these tiny spiritual inhabitants!

Spirit houses come in various sizes, ranging from simple structures to elaborate miniature replicas of traditional Thai architecture.
If you look after the spirits then they will look after you

WHERE TO PLACE A THAI SPIRIT HOUSE

The location of a spirit house is always carefully considered and the chosen place – whether at the front of a property or at a corner or a boundary – is believed to ensure harmony between the human and spiritual realms.

Newly build spirit houses are blessed by a monk and he will consult astrology and numerology to decide on the aesthetics and even the colour of the spirit house.

During an elaborate inauguration ceremony, he will formerly invite the guardian spirits still living on the earthly plane to occupy the spirit house.

Regular offerings and rituals are performed to honour the spirits inhabiting the spirit house and these typically include flowers, fruits, incense, and small cups of water or rice.

I have even seen offerings of a bottle of beer – I assume for a deceased and beloved family member who had a penchant for ‘Chang’ during his lifetime!

Many spirit homes will have miniature furniture, figurines, and animals.
Spirit homes have miniature furniture, figurines, and animals.

The rituals involving spirit houses often vary depending on personal beliefs and regional customs but often involve prayers and gestures of respect.

In Thailand, the majority of people are Buddhist, but the belief in spirits and spirit worship – known as Animism – has been practiced long before Buddhism arrived in Thailand and is prevalent throughout Southeast Asia.

The rituals involving spirit houses often vary depending on personal beliefs and customs
Spirit houses also require regular maintenance and care
Spirit houses also require regular maintenance and care

There are certain taboos associated with spirit houses, such as never placing them in the shadow of a building or in a disrespectful location and never moving them without a proper ritual and permission.

Spirit houses also require regular maintenance and care as neglecting a spirit house is believed to invite misfortune or displeasure from the spirits.

I have honestly never seen a neglected spirit house!

Owners will often repaint and repair spirit houses, replace offerings several times a day, and perform rituals on significant occasions such as Thai New Year (Songkran) or other religious festivals.

As a westerner, I really enjoy Thailand’s traditions, and appreciate seeing these beautiful spirit houses.

I really enjoy Thailand’s traditions, and appreciate seeing these beautiful spirit houses. The Backpacking Housewife

Have you been to Thailand?

Is Thailand on your travel wish list?

Would you like a spirit house outside your home?

Let me know!

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