Spirit Houses of Southeast Asia

The spirit houses of Southeast Asia

Spirit houses of Southeast Asia in Bangkok

Spirituality lives high among the people of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. Each house is a spiritual place in which divine stories rule the household. The houses in these primarily Buddhist countries all have a spirit house in its garden or home. The spirit houses of Southeast Asia are usually colorful and decorated with flowers. People pray to the spirits daily. The incense burns and spreads its typical aroma through the house. The attention of the spirits is captured and we tell them that we will not forget about them.

It all starts already when a house is being build. One of the first things that people in this part of the world do is to please the spirits with offerings. Fake money, flowers, cakes, softdrinks and cigarettes are part of the offerings. Jewelry or gold is often buried in the ground where the house or business is being built. This is done to ask the spirits for prosperity and longevity. A religious figure, a monk for that matter, selects the place of burial for the gold or jewelry.

A spiritual home
Honoring the death inside a home at one of the Spirit houses of Southeast Asia

Construction can only start when a proper spirit house is being build first. It usually sits on the land boundary, but never in front of the door opening of the house. The spirits have no intention to enter a person’s house. The spirit needs to be happy around his new home and with daily offerings from the house or business owners, the spirit will bring health and prosperity. The size of the spirit house does not matter much. Poorer households have smaller spirit houses. Hotels have huge ones and spend quite a bit on decorations and flowers.

Please your spirit

A Cambodian spirit house with incense

Everything in the end connects when it comes to spirits. The starting day of building your home to the place where you build the spirit house to the area where you bury your good luck charms. Leaving things to chance is a risk no one should take. Monks and other religious figures usually perform ceremonies to determine the date of certain important construction periods.

Leaving things to chance may have catastrophic results. Just ask the people who built the Grand Hyatt Erawan in Thailand…

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