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Mon 27 Mar 2017
Blessing a New House
Written by Denis Segaller   
Friday, 09 February 2007 02:00
The ceremony of moving into a new house in Thai is called keun ban mai, literally "going up into a new house"; in former times most Thai houses were built on stills to avoid flooding in the rainy season.

The auspicious time for moving in must first be found. Saturdays are very unlucky, but Sundays are good. Before the auspicious day, all the heavy furniture, such as beds, tables and chairs, are moved in.

At the auspicious hour the owner and his family enter the new house carrying their personal Buddha images, some food and some money. The Buddha images are set up in their new permanent positions - they must always face either East or North. The housewife immediately prepares a meal, even though it is perhaps three o'clockin the morning. This formalises the act of "moving in". The money is brought in order to ensure future prosperity.

A few days later the religious keun ban mai ceremony is held. This is purely Buddhist, and is a blessing of the new home and a house-warming party all in one.

Once again, five, seven, or preferably nine monks are invited. Before they arrive, the white thread known as sai sin will have been draped completely round the compound to keep out evil spirits and consecrate everything inside it.

The monks take their places on cushions placed round the wall, the senior monk on the right. Candles are lit. The ball of white thread is passed from one monk to the next, each holding the thread between the palms of the hands in the wai position.

For perhaps an hour the monks chant. Afterwards the house-owner offers them food. Later everyone kneels in turn before the senior monk, who sprinkles holy water on their heads. One final important rite remains. As the monks prepare to leave, the senior monkanoints every door in the house, and especially the front door, with seven or nine spots of white paste. With that, the ceremony is at an end. After the house has been inuse for some time, the owner may choose to put up a miniature spirit house in a corner of the compound, where the chao tee or spirit of the land may live.

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Information from: "Thai Ways" by Denis Segaller.

This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn about the Thai culture. I use it very often to answer questions about Thai culture that people asked me.