Thailand is a majority Buddhist country with amazing golden temples and Buddhist heritage architecture. But you may wonder what are those little buildings in front of your apartment or nearby restaurants? They look almost like miniature temples on pedestals. However, these are Spirit houses, also called San Phra Phum in Thai. San means shrine and Phra Phum means Spirit, God or Angel. Thais believe that protector spirits live in these little houses so they will build one in front of their home or business.
The person who determine where to put the spirit house is the Brahma priest, and will be the same person who do the ceremony to invite the spirit into the house. The spirit house is usually made out of concrete and metal but you will also discover a lot of beautifully decorated wooden houses around. This tiny houses stand on concrete pillars.
Inside will be placed a small image of the Phra Phum. This spirit acts as the protector for the houses, community or business and are always decorated with garlands and surrounded with bowls of fruits and glasses, filled with red colored strawberry flavored fanta, fruits & vegetables or any offering as a gesture to the spirit.
It’s always nice to see beautifully decorated spirit houses around you when you are travelling to Bangkok and know you know why you will see Thais making offerings to these small shrines each morning on their way to work!