One thing that we will have to do when we move in to our house and if you marry a Thai or live with a Thai you will have to do the same, is get a spirit house for your property. The spirit house is called a “San Jaow”
If you have a look at any piece of land where there is property you will find a little house, it, to western eyes, looks like a bird house, an elaborate one at that, but similar. I remember going to a very large supermarket, a Tesco Lotus. At the front of the supermarket was a very very large san jaow and the size matched the size of the supermarket, and the land it occupied.
For those of you who live in the UK you will be well aware of the large supermarket called Tesco. You may wonder why Tesco is called Tesco Lotus in Thailand. Well as I have said in previous blogs foreigners are not allowed to own land in Thailand so Tesco could not operate by itself. So in 2003 it bought a large stake in a Thai supermarket called Lotus Supercentre and made the chain Tesco Lotus.
So back to san jaow’s. The Thai’s believe that every piece of land has spirits living in the land and when you build on the land you have to make sure the spirits have a place to stay and that you look after them. You will often see small offerings in the houses.
After a while we will have to have a Monk come to our house and have all four corners of our house blessed and we will also have to have a san jaow. The monk will tell us what type of san jaow and where to place it and in what direction to place it in. This is very important to the Thais as they are very religious (Or superstitious depending on your point of view) and for long lasting good luck this has to be done.
There are some basic rules to placing the san jaow, the Monk will know these but I will tell you a few.
• It is good if it can be placed in front of a tree
• It should not be on the left side of a door
• If there’s a Buddha room in the building, the spirit house should be in line with it
• It should not face a toilet or a road
• It’s lucky if it points north or northeast
• It should not be in the shadow of the house
This web site has some interesting fact if you are interested.