Role of Spirit Houses in Thai Society
If we talk about the elements of building a house, we tend to focus mainly on the house and the living area. On the other hand, if taking a look at each house around us, we will notice one thing that is almost in everywhere house in Chiang Mai or maybe all over Thailand.It is the shrine or known as San Phra Phum, and this article will take us all to get to know what we have seen every day but may not be as familiar as we should be.
San Phra Phum has actually its full name from the San Phra Phum Chai Mongkol, and Phra Phumm, translated literally to the 6th Chao (Di Zhuia called by Chinese people), means the owners who own the land and keep the house, dwellings, buildings, places, and farms safe. It was originated form the beliefs in both Brahmanism and Buddhism which have been with Thai people for a long time.
To set up San Phra Phum, do not do on our own. It is believed that if San Phra Phum has been set up improperly, all terrible things will greet the owners. They will face a hard time staying at home and get in trouble. Therefore, setting up San Phra Phum properly in our home requires a specialist and is based on the right auspice, the appropriate time, or even the right direction.
Where is a suitable place to set up San Phra Phum?
- Must be on a land area. Do not set up on the same floor of the house. However, if there is no any land area able to set up, it can be set on the rooftop, but needed to be shrines for gods such as Brahma or Vishnu, not land spirits.
- Must not be cast by the shadow of the house.
- Should be far from the bathroom area, and it must not face the bathroom area.
- Should not be positioned close to the house, at least 1 meter away from the fence or wall of the house, and it must not face the front door.
- The height of San Phra Phum should be slightly above the eye level of the house owner.
The auspicious directions for setting up San Phra Phum
There are 3 ideal directions: northeast, east, and southeast, said that these are the best three directions. if San Phra Phum is set up depending on these directions, the everyone in the house will be prosperous. However, the forbidden ones to set up are the west and the south.
The next step is to heap the ground for 1 Keub (25 Centimeters high), spread the soil by hands, and tighten it up. Do not use your feet. Then prepare the holy water to sprinkle the ground to dispel bad spirits and unlucky things. The Auspicious occasions to set up San Phra Phum can be done on both Waxing Crescent and Waning Crescent including 2, 4, 6, 9, and 11.
Sunday 6.09 a.m. – 8.19 p.m.
Monday 8.19 a.m. – 10.39 a.m.
Tuesdays 6.39 a.m. – 8.09 a.m.
Wednesday 8.39 a.m. – 10.19 p.m.
Thursday 10.49 a.m. – 11.39 a.m.
Friday 6.19 a.m. – 8.09 a.m.
Saturday 8.49 a.m. – 10.49 a.m.
Prohibited days to set up San Phra Phum
Ai month (December), forbidden days are Thursday and Saturday.
Yi month (January), forbidden days are Wednesday and Friday.
Month 3 (February), forbidden day is Tuesday.
Month 4 (March), forbidden day is Monday.
Month 5 (April), forbidden days are Thursday and Saturday.
Month 6 (May), forbidden days are Wednesday and Friday.
Month 7 (June), forbidden day is Tuesday.
Month 8 (July), forbidden day is Monday.
Month 9 (August), forbidden days are Thursday and Saturday.
Month 10 (September), forbidden days are Wednesday and Friday.
Month 11 (October), forbidden day is Tuesday.
Month 12 (November), forbidden day is Monday.
As can be seen, many people might think that Sunday is the best day, but it is really not the best one. According to the ancient people’s belief, even Sunday is full of great energy, it is still wild and hot. That is why it is not suitable to set up because it might not bring comfort to the house. In some cases, it is accepted to set up on Sunday if a master of ceremonies knows prayers or has magic to cope with those problems.
San Phra Phum’s height & staking
The height of the shrine will be based on the house owner’s height. It will be set up above the mouth level (Some textbooks may say that it is right above the eyebrows). If an owner moves out, it should be adjusted to the height of a new owner. Then the new owner needs to erect the shrine and pay respect to land spirits to take care of all family members. For staking, the pit must be completely dug before starting the ceremony. After that, prepare the following items: Phan Kru 1 Phan is used for rice, incense sticks, white candles, flowers or fresh garlands, liquor, cigarettes, white cloth, money about 6 Salung or 99 baht
Important components of San Phra Phum
It is something called “Wed”, which must be turned into the Lord Buddha by reciting incantations to put the 6 elements including the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha combined with the gods and spirits into the Wed. After finishing incantations, the Wed will be called “Phra Phum”, coming along with the following servants:
- One pair of male-female dolls
- One pair of elephant and horse dolls
- Two of theatrical drama dolls (Lakorn-yok)
Of course, putting the emphasis on these beliefs is not only have your life more comfortable, and it is also to sustain our old belief and culture for the future. However, if anyone want to suggest anything or make a comment, feel free to share it below!
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