Did you know that Thailand still honors its old animist roots? I’ve visited temples (called Wats) where they do their best to work with the existing nature and history to still update it and make it more accessible for travelers to visit. Absolutely love how they cut holes to make their decks go around trees instead of chopping them down. They also refresh the blessings and re-adorn statues according to some of the Thai holidays or moon cycles (that’s what the yellow cloth is). This is part Buddhist in influence, to minimize the harm done to others, including other-then-humans.
Often when exploring Thailand, you will see a shrine like this one (I actually took that picture at a gas station). These are shrines dedicated to the spirits of the land, and some are to honor ancestors or other beings. The English translation is something like “Spirit house”. These tend to be refreshed daily in the morning. I’ve seen them everywhere, including on a shelf in a shop within an airport. I’ve witnessed a shrine like this in the middle of a busy traffic circle and people rushing through traffic with armfuls of offerings in order to pray! The theory is, that if you have a nice place for wandering spirits to visit, they will not bother to haunt a house because they will have everything they need at this little outdoor house. I found it to be a lovely place to give offerings or meditate.
After asking some questions of the locals, I was amazed to find out that Thai people would NEVER consider bulldozing over a cemetery. Even though the younger generations don’t believe as much, I have heard of some still tending the shrine on land they inherit. Not because they believe, but more out of, “Well… what if it’s true?” I’m part of the younger generation trying to learn the old ways, and I’m proud to see this country being proud of their animist roots, where it’s normalized to give offerings daily. Please be respectful if you happen to see one, and if you feel called, give a little Wai (Thai greeting of respect) or some small snacks from your bag.