Hogs for the Gods: Appeasing Thai Spirits

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Every home and business in Thailand is inhabited by spirits—both good and evil—and the Thais believe these beings must be acknowledged and appeased, whether that means providing a “spirit house” in which to live on the corner of their land, a high shelf inside the house for dead ancestors, or a special offering on a table in front of your storefront. In the latter case, a succulent pig’s head, white rice, pack of smokes, bottle of whiskey, and some sweets and incense seems to do the trick.

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Even big embassies and office buildings have spirit houses. Some are equipped with whole scenes of praying and/or partying miniature people, some are offered tea or bottles of cherry-flavored soda (with straws), and many are framed with gorgeous flowers and vegetation.

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Still others are doubly blessed with manly tokens of fertility.

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