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Ghost culture in Thailand

08-30-2010 09:11 BJT

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The belief in ghosts and the supernatural is deeply rooted in Thai culture.

Different forms of worship and ceremony retain their significance to people in almost every part of the country.

Every day, people of all ages and backgrounds visit a temple in a backstreet of Bangkok to pay their respect to the shrine of "Mae Nak," a famous female spirit believed to have died more than 200 years ago.

According to local tales, Mae Nak's husband was called off to war when Mae Nak was pregnant.

Photo from Thailand Ghost Festival
Photo from Thailand Ghost Festival

Later, she and the child she was carrying died during childbirth.

Her husband came home not knowing about the deaths and was cast under a spell and that made him live with Mae Nak's ghost and their child.

Kittiya Hongtong, visitor, said, "The story of Mae Nak has been passed on in my family for generations, so I believe she is sacred. A lot of Thai people believe in her. I pray to her to bring happiness to my family and that we don't fight."

In another corner of the Thai capital, a group of believers gather every weekend at the Power of Life Center to communicate with spirits.

They sit together in a circle, chant, sing and meditate, in an attempt to reach out to the ghosts.

Once connected, they can feel what the spirits have to say.

During the session, many mediums are in tears as they feel the grief of the souls they contact.

Sathittham Pensuk, director of Power of Life Center, said, "I think the reason Thai people believe in ghosts and spirits is partly because we study the rule of Karma and Samsara, or birth and rebirth. It's a Buddhist belief. Ghosts and spirits, therefore, are the end of life and the beginning of another life as the spirit."

Meanwhile, a new exhibition opening in Bangkok this week is trying to explain the origin of the beliefs, and how Thais cope with and learn from ghosts.

It shows that even though Thai people's fear and beliefs have evolved with the changing surroundings and modern technology, in daily life, ghosts and different kinds of spirits are still prevalent.

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Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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