I recently wrote about a Buddha mantle, but there’s also a Ghost mantle that certain region of Thailand still believe in, mostly in the Northern region, such as Chaing Mai. Lao people also worship ghost mantle but it’s not as obvious as the Thai people of Lanna are. Most of you probably think that we have a strange tradition, well, what can I say, when I was little, it seems normal but now I think that our tradition is a bit off beat and strange too.
Buddha mantle always have at least a Buddha statue inside, but most ghost mantle don’t have ghost, at least I don’t think that they do, but why would people have ghost mantle inside their house. Thai Lanna people have ghost mantle inside their house for centuries, some still carry that tradition but they don’t worship the ghost mantle everyday, just on special occasions such as religious holidays, or New Year.
Ghost mantle that I’m talking about here is not like a Buddha mantle where it’s visible and worship on a regular basis. People of Lanna might still have it in their house but it’s nothing like the Buddha mantle, a ghost mantle mainly have a plate with flowers, candles, etc, but some people might not have it in their house anymore because it’s considered to be old fashion, most Thai people go to ‘Mor Pee’(Exorcist, which is very popular in the Issan region of Thailand) for their everyday problem solving.
I think most if not all Lao people might have seen or worship a ghost mantle at least once but did not realize that’s what it was. I think most Laotian, when they move into a new house or apartment; they always prepare a ghost mantle, even if it’s a temporary one. If you are Laotian and reading this, you probably say, ‘NO…I don’t remember that.’ When I first moved into my house, my mom put together a small plate with candles, flowers, and an incense (you only need to lite 1 incense to call any spirit), and she asked the ghost of the ‘house’, and area to protect us. That was a ghost mantle, even if it was just for that event only, and she left it outside near the front door.
When we worship to the Buddha mantle, we might say ‘Arahato, Samma…all the way to Ethi Pee So’, which after you finish, you still don’t know what you are saying or asking. Worshiping to a ghost mantle is slightly different, you would say ‘Sa Thu, (then speak in normal Lao, Thai, or English language,) to the ghost of the ancestors, the ghost of the house,’ ( or what ever type of ghost that you want to call is fine), then what ever you want, just go ahead and ask, whether it’s a lottery number, to get a new job, to get a new boyfriend/girlfriend, or even to complain about your life. Some might only worship during the time that they have problems and need someone to talk to. Whether it is mainly to complain, the ghost will always listen to you, just let it all out, and they won’t complain back either. I think people that worship to the ghost mantle, mainly to complain, it’s all about the things that other people did wrong, that they are always right. I think this is better than going to see a psychologist and having to pay money. Some of you might think at this point that if anyone that’s worshiping to a ghost mantle; they might as well be put in a mental institution, I personally think its all how you look at it.
My dad is Chinese, and not from Lanna, but I personally think that he has a Buddha mantle and a ghost mantle in his house. His Buddha mantle has a Buddha statue that he recently received (Bu Sah) from the temple (Wat), but his ghost mantle, he keeps it in his entertainment center, where he has pictures of his deceased parents, and in front of their pictures is a small plate with candles, flowers and other misc. stuff, which I’m not sure what they are. I’m sure my dad worships his Buddha mantle on a regular basis, but as for his ghost mantle, he only worships it on Chinese New Year, that’s this coming weekend.
I used to live near the Northern region of Thailand and ghost mantle is not a new concept to me, we used to have one in our house also. The idea of having one right now is very tempting, just in case I need someone to complain things to.
I really enjoy reading your blogs and translated ghost stories. Thank you so much.
I’ve never really knew about the ghost mantle until I read this article. That’s when I finally realized that we do have one of those in our house to pay homage to our deceased.
I hope you will translate more scary stories. I love them. =]
Hi Jey, thanks. I’m glad that you like the ghost story, my favorite also, that’s one of the reasons why I buy Koosang Koosom Magazine, I try to rotate my story around but I would normally translate ghost story at least once or twice a month. 🙂
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