This tradition dates back to ancient times when Animism (spirit worship) was the religion by which the entire world lived. When Buddhism came to south east Asia, it developed side by side with the ancient spirit religion. Today many of the old animistic beliefs are intertwined with Buddhism – one of these practised by most Thais is the SPIRIT HOUSE.
You can see these in a prominent spot outside most business establishments, on a pedestal in front of a hotel, in the corner of a restaurant garden, in front of a bar, disco or even an outdoor food market. Most importantly the Thai spirit house is built outside many homes. The purpose of the spirit house is to appease the spirits who’ve been displaced by the building on this land. The house can be permanent or temporary, made of wood, concrete or brick.
The size can vary from very small to a large, walk-in, ground-level house. Statues, small figures & symbols are placed in the centre of the house. You may also see various animal figures, such as elephants; figures of people, such as a married couple and even furniture. Outside the house there is normally a balcony – on here you’ll see offerings of incense, candles, and flowers.