Siamese Spirit House
The Siamese believe that owning property or a house is not enough to ensure a safe and happy life. It is essential to form an alliance with the spirit of the land, called Phra Phum. The name comes from the Sanskrit word for soil or earth.
A charming little house is set up to attract a friendly Phra Phum. To further please the spirit, an offering of flowers, incense and a miniature feast is presented enticingly on the threshold. A small statue represents the honored spirit. He is often accompanied by a sweet elderly couple who care take the house and a menagerie of auspicious figures like elephants, lion dogs and buddhas.
In ancient Siam it was the custom to build a small structure at the entrance to a village where the people venerated the threshold between the human and spirit worlds. Nowadays Thais place a Spirit House at the entrance to their homes. It signifies the dwelling of benevolent natural forces that bestow blessings, prosperity and protection.