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Thais continue to provide for the spirits despite tough times

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PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth
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Spirits don’t rest in Thailand, even when there’s a nationwide lockdown and viral pandemic swirling around the world. Thai people continue to give what they can to provide for the spirits, even if it’s just a glass of water or Fanta, placing offerings by trees where spirits live, or on spirit houses which are often outside homes and businesses.

One Bangkok spiritual consultant told the New York Times the widespread belief in spirits has contributed to the low amount of coronavirus cases in Thailand. Although Bangkok had the first confirmed case outside of China, the country has only recorded 3,130 cases and 58 deaths.

“Thai people respect ghosts and spirits… Every day we pray and you will notice, our country has not had many cases of the coronavirus. The spirits listen to our prayers.”

The spirits also need a spirit house, a typically wooden raised structure that looks like a miniature temple. The houses are often placed outside homes and business, and they are seen all over Thailand. Building homes for the spirits has not stopped because of the pandemic. It also takes time and focused prayers to summon a spirit into the house.

Food pantries have popped up all over Thailand to help provide food to those who have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. Many of these were administered by temples or volunteers to help control the donations and handouts.

“The spirit world also needs to be fed with foods like fruits, rice and red soda. The also expect other material offerings.”

A spirit communicator told the Times that the spirits understand they cannot have the offerings they normally get. She said the spirit of a young boy, known as Kuman Thong, would like a remote controlled car, but he’ll be happy with a glass of water for now.

SOURCE: New York Times

 

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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