Folk Beliefs & Customs


  • Belief in spirits, such as ancestral spirits, nature deities and guardian spirits, and that all animals, plants and creatures are inhabited by a soul. Nature spirits are venerated for their power of the elements of nature, while guardian spirits are worshipped to ensure the well-being of the village.
  • Saint worship is commonly found in mixed societies, where local heroes and leaders are worshipped as saints and guardian spirits.
  • Even the deceased need the same things as they had when they were alive, including food, clothing and money. Providing these things annually insures that the ancestors help and protect their descendants.
  • Among the Ebon, not performing the head severing ritual will cause the spirit of the defeated to haunt or harm your village. The act of preparing and cleaning the skull will allow you to harness its life force.
  • Pregnant women are forbidden at funerals for fear of evil spirits or demons that might infiltrate the woman's womb.
  • Pray silently before a shrine or grave and insure the spirit that you are only passing by, so it won't become angry and punish you.
  • Giving someone a pointed or sharp object implies that you want that person to be harmed.
  • Sickness is caused by having one's soul taken. A shaman or pawang can use his supernatural powers to enter the realm of the dead and retrieve it.
  • Dreaming of fish, trees or snakes means good fortune, money, or happiness.
  • Pointing at a people with your index finger is considered rude, and you use your thumb as substitute.
  • Catching a glimpse of a white tiger means that you will be unusually lucky the coming year.
  • When one heads into the jungles of Suwarnabumi, it's the necessary and respectful to ask the trees for permission to pass, and ask forgiveness in the jungle for disturbing the trees.

See also

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