Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Thai Spirit Houses
One of the most common sights one sees in Thailand is the “spirit house.” Although most Thais are Buddhist, they are also “animists.” On nearly every house and company site sits a small temple-like structure on a pedestal. The tradition began centuries ago in the Tai tribes of northern Vietnam and spread to all parts of Southeast Asia.
In Thailand, spirit worship exists alongside Buddhism, even with spirit houses on the grounds of temples. Thais erect these structures in order to appease the spirits of beings who have left this world, but who often live amongst us. Offerings of flower garlands, water, food, and incense are placed on the structure.
Spirit houses are often erected to honor the spirits of ancestors. They may be quite simple, or very elaborate. They are so common that one eventually no longer stops to linger in appreciation of these often beautiful houses.