LukThep: Everything To Know About The Privileged Life Of Thailand’s Supernatural Dolls
Thai people are known to be a superstitious bunch, and the LukThep doll tradition is no different.
The doll’s name “LukThep”, literally translates as “child angels” and the people of Thailand believe these supernatural dolls bring good fortune and are pampered by their owners like real children. The privileges lavished upon them in Thailand are quite fascinating. Read on to find more about this outlandish LukThep tradition and the ongoing search for good fortune.
Who set the trend?
Mae Ning is the person who is largely responsible for setting the trend of turning the plastic dolls into revered vessels of good fortune. Ning is a Hindu ritual expert and a doll seller, who claimed that the dolls possess superpowers. Soon after her statement, fortune tellers and Buddhist monks held rituals to place “lucky” spirits into the plastic dolls. Thai celebrities rapidly jumped on the bandwagon and were seen carrying LukThep where ever they went.
Blessed by Buddhist Monks
After purchasing a LukThep doll, the owner carries it to a Buddhist monk, who conducts a prayer and an anointing ceremony called “plooksek”. Prayers like these are usually chanted to bless lucky amulets, which are very popular in Thailand, as ancient beliefs in magic are still prevalent. In the case of LukThep, it is often viewed as a way of animating the doll, where a wandering spirit is invited to inhabit within the doll, giving it a soul.
They have access to airline seats – sort of
Thai Smile Airways made news in 2016 by declaring that passengers could buy plane tickets for the LukThep dolls, who would get their own seats, meals, and drinks. However, this provision faced criticism as international aviation rules state that passengers are people and so airlines are not allowed to sell tickets for dolls. But passengers can purchase a second seat under their names and place their LukTheps.
They get to dine-in at fancy restaurants
There is at least one eatery in Bangkok that has cashed in on the LukThep trend. The restaurant offers meals for the dolls at child rates, further adding that the restaurant is “open to all worshippers”.
LukThep dolls get love and affection
Many owners of the supernatural doll suggested that it is more than just a talisman. They treat the dolls as their own children. Doting owners are known to have splashed out on expensive jewelry and accessories for their LukTheps.
Next time you spot a life-size doll being doted on and pampered by adoring adults in the Land of Smiles, you’ll know exactly what is going on.