What are the spirit houses?

Have you ever wondered what is the little house standing on a pole that you often see at local people houses or at shops in Thailand? We believe that many tourists will have such a question in their mind. And to answer that question, it is a spirit house.

Now you will think what is the spirit house and what is it for. So here is our guide for you to have a better understanding of this special shrine.

So what is it?

Spirit House

A spirit house located in the house

Spirit house, or San Phra Phum in Thai language, is a shrine of spirits who protect the place. You will often see spirit houses in people houses, shops or even office buildings in Thailand.

Who live in the spirit house?

It depends on what kind of spirit house you are talking about. There are roughly two kinds of spirit houses – those with one pole and those with four poles.

Spirit Houses

Spirit Houses

The one with only pole is the residence of a local god names “Phra Phum” as the local name suggested earlier. For the shrine with four poles is for the guardian spirits of those who used to live at that certain place, passed away and then became a spirit to protect the land – we often refer it as “San Ta-Yai (grandpa and grandma shrine)” or “San Chaotee (spirit house)”.

Where can we find spirit houses?

Wooden Spirit Houses

Wooden Spirit Houses

You will see it almost everywhere in Thailand, from local houses, shops to big office buildings. And not only you will find them here in Thailand, you will also find them in neighbouring countries such as in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

What is the purpose of having a spirit house?

So far you might want to know – why the spirit house? Phra Phum is a belief from Bhrama religion which even Bhrama and Buddhism are not the same religion, they are closely related. So that’s why buddhist countries will easily pick some of the beliefs from this religion.

Pay Respect to the Spirit House

Pay Respect to the Spirit House

So why the spirit house? This little shrine is made to provide shelter for spirits or gods. People will ask the Brahman to perform the religious ceremony. The Brahman will invite the spirit to enshrine into the spirit house and after that people will pay respect to the spirits asking them to protect the property and the people.

Did you know?

  • You cannot install a shrine just about anywhere or anytime. You really need an expert which in this case is Brahman to help you with the specific place and time.
  • Wrong site and time might mean disrespect to the spirit which might bring the property owner’s a disaster instead of the prosperity.
  • The shrine will be given offerings daily. It depends on the owner what will be the offering. However, the most famous offering is the red Fanta soda.

So does this clear your doubt about the little shrine? Let us know more what do you think or what more doubts you have and we will find answers for you.


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