One of my most consistent readers wrote a comment recently and said she was looking forward to hearing about the house blessing ceremony. For some reason I had a blank moment about passing this story on as it happened in mid-March, Week 20 of my house build, which you can read about HERE. It’s never too late in blogland so here it is – sorry for the delay Linda.

There are two blessing ceremonies you need to allow for when building a house in Thailand. The first is the one that kicks off construction, so is exciting as you start a four or five month journey to make your house plans into reality. No work that involves anything rising above ground level can take place until this ceremony has been completed. You can read about ours, which took place in Week 3 HERE.

The completion of the building commencement blessing ceremony.

The other equally important but emotionally far more exciting is the blessing ceremony where the spirits are informed that people are about to move into the house. This obviously comes towards the end of the project and is an indication that you are finally about to get to enjoy what has taken so much time, effort and money to achieve. If you have a Thai partner you will be living in the house alone unless you have this blessing. If that’s your intention then this is a great opportunity for the break! Otherwise go with the flow and let the ceremony happen around you.

I should point out that there are two different blessing ceremonies, just to confuse things. The one we were having is led by a “spiritman” and invitees are friends, family and neighbours. The other type is far larger and involves a number of Buddhist monks from the local temple and a wider range of people. It is much more a statement to the local community rather than a personal “housewarming” type occasion. You can have either one or both!

If you are building here please make sure you plan ahead for this ceremony. It has to happen on an auspicious day and it would be a bugger to have your house finished and be unable to move into it. The house doesn’t have to be finished for the ceremony to happen. This was good news for us because we could get it out of the way and then choose our move in day without any restrictions.

The house at this stage.

The house at blessing stage. With no windows, electricity, running water or furniture maybe not the most attractive move-in option.

From the kitchen to the lounge room.

From the kitchen to the lounge room. Those two paint buckets and the red container hold water and rice, part of the gifts to the spirits.

From kitchen to lounge.

We moved in 10 days later on the 25th of March. The same view today.

We had been invited to a local wedding in mid-March and there met up with one of the village elders who had been involved in the first house blessing ceremony.

This lady had also acted as a stand-in for my mother at our wedding HERE.

This lady had also acted as a stand-in for my mother at our wedding, which you can read about HERE.

On hearing we wanted a move-in blessing she got back to us later that day to say that the follow day was the best one until sometime in April. Now organising a party comes naturally to someone from Isaan. Just name a day and the expected numbers and it all just happens. In our case Yuan, Gaun’s younger sister, is THE lady to make your event happen. She and the whole family swung into action the next day. No effort required on my part other than to turn up!

Gaun's mama and a couple of neighbours preparing some of the things needed for the ceremony itself.

Gaun’s mama and a couple of neighbours preparing some of the things needed for the ceremony itself.

Two of my brother-in-laws and another neighbour chopping pork.

Two of my brother-in-laws and another neighbour chopping pork. Needless to say food is an important part to any ceremony.

Gaun and Yuna were up at four am to buy all the ingredients at the local markets.

Gaun and Yuan were up at four am to buy all the ingredients at the local markets.

Another of my sister-in-laws cooking over a charcoal fire, still widely used here.

Another of my sister-in-laws cooking over a charcoal fire, which is still widely used here.

Plenty of sticky rice, central to any meal in Isaan.

Plenty of sticky rice, central to any meal in Isaan.

Gaun colourfully involved too.

Gaun colourfully involved too. Guys – be nice to your Isaan lady because there is always a machete close to hand. An essential gardening, farming and cooking utensil. Used for unfaithful husbands too!

Apple, a niece of Gaun, trying on a new silk dress for the occasion.

Apple, a niece of Gaun, trying on a new silk dress for the occasion. A worldwide phenomenon 🙂

At around 11.00 am participants started to make their way to the land – just in time for lunch, what a coincidence!

Hungry Isaan guests on the move.

Hungry Isaan guests on the move.

Gaun and my step-daughter Peng, dressed up. You can read about Gaun's hand grown and made silk skirt HERE.

Gaun and my step-daughter Peng, dressed up, Apple and another niece Puk. A neighbour’s child wanting to be in the picture.You can read about Gaun’s hand grown and hand made silk skirt HERE.

Because the house hasn’t be blessed everyone assembles outside.

The ceremony itself involves the “spiritman” having a chat to the ghosts, as Gaun calls them, and lets them know we are going to be their new neighbours and to be nice to us. Everyone then walks three times around the building carrying the bed and bedding, which thank goodness was the Thai version not our queen sized mattress.

Making the rounds. The spiritman in the front.

Note people carrying bedding and cushions.

Note people carrying bedding and cushions.

A photo moment.

A photo moment.

A good turnout.

A good turnout.

Three times done we stand ready to enter while the spiritman talks to the ghosts.

Three times done we stand ready to enter while the spiritman talks to the ghosts.

The whole thing continues inside.

The whole thing continues inside.

And finishes with that lovely Thai custom of guests tying white strings onto the wrists of the hosts. You’ll see this happen at all major ceremonial events such as weddings, family get togethers at Songkran, Thai New Year a topic I will be covering very shortly and house blessings!

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Right wrist for boys, left for girls and ladyboys.

The following photo is more interesting that it looks because the lady and her husband behind had invited us to their daughter’s wedding the day before. We had given money to the bride and her new husband at the end of the ceremony, which was duly recorded. When the father and mother came to our blessing ceremony they each gave us 100 THB. It was part of the go-round of money that you’ll find everywhere in Thailand at these sort of events.

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What goes around……..

And finally the central point to the whole affair, truth be known, lunchtime.

Some of the house building team in this photo.

The typical Isaan feast.

All happening in our kitchen/dining area so very appropriate.

All happening in our kitchen/dining area so very appropriate.

Me with Ming, my builder, on the right.

And the ladies don't mind a drink.

And the ladies don’t mind a drink. Cordial in this case.

The blessing obviously worked because straight after I got an email from the supplier of my windows and sliding doors that they were on their way to Isaan from Pattaya 12 hours away and would be delivered the next day!!!! This was one of the best moments of the build as it was unexpectedly early and also because it meant that we would soon be in the position to lock the house up and start finishing off all the inside work. The end was definitely in sight.

And at night.

A house well blessed.

Thanks for reading.