Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Mysterious Banana Plant

For the Hindus, the installation banana plants on both side of the entrance of wedding ceremony are a must. They think banana plant will bring ‘valeyadi valey’ or ‘continuity of life’.


Banana plants are also used for the purpose to avoid misfortune in case where a couple is found of not suitable to be married; the man will need to marry with a banana plant first. A priest will carry out the wedding ceremony and upon the completion of the ceremony; the man will chop down the banana tree to signify the failure of the first marriage. Only after that the couples are married with a proper ritual. It is hoped that in doing so whatever mishaps already been carried away by the banana tree. And that the second marriage will bring happiness and prosperity.


In old Malay village, the banana plant clusters were used as places to throw away or bury black magic items, heirloom items or spirits imprisoned inside a container. Because of this the old folks always advise the young ones not to play around banana plants at dusk. There were also stories told that the newly buried corpse transformed into banana trunk upon digging up. Because of these stories, banana plants be become ‘taboo’ and almost synonym to Malay mysticism.


The Chinese however believe a banana plant to be notorious of attracting spirits. The larger a banana plantation is, and then the chances of finding power spirits are higher.


A person is forbidden to urinate or shit inside the compound of a banana plantation. Besides that, he also need to mind his language; if he ignores these taboos then bad luck will be fallen onto him. He is also forbids to smear his blood onto a banana plant because it is believed that the banana plant will turn into banana spirit once fed with human blood. On the other hand, Chinese also believe that banana plants can bring ‘ong’ or fortune and luck to the house owner.


In Taiwan, it is forbidden to cast a person’s shadow into holes dug during banana planting activities. It is also a no-no to burn banana leaves in a large scale as the local believe that this action will make the person to be void of offspring.


Like the Chinese, some Thai believe that a banana plant may house a type of vampire spirit called ‘Phee Pop’. This ‘Phee Pop’ can be caught through certain rituals.


So friend, do you have your own version of banana plant usage to be added to this library?



  1. That old movie called Banana Spirit is fun, but it does depict a folkloric ritual that in some aspects is authentic, does it not?

    I mean the red cord between the tree and the summoner and the offering of blood and incense in order to call forth the dryadic succubus of the Banana tree.

    Do you know the whole procedure for that ritual?

    Also, in traditions I am familiar with the animist view is that ALL trees have spirits and that these spirits can be good or bad depending on how and why they are approached. Is the perspective the same in for example Thailand, that All trees have spirits, or do they believe that only some trees are haunted?

    Have you any experience with the Banana spirit talismans made by some Thai masters? Are they only lucky charms or do they actually connect to the mentioned Spirit?

    Also, have you heard about the rituals used in order to boost the power of certain spirit- talismans by burying them by the banana tree?

    Thanks for another good post.

    1. Here are the rituals:


      Spirit of banana

      Phi Pop

      Basically all trees have spirits... Some are stronger than others. However not all trees to be haunted, there are special circumstances that will make a tree haunted.

      It is not difficult to boost the power of spirits, just give them fresh blood and incense smoke. Be careful if you want to do that.

  2. I agree and my wording in the question was bad. I agree that all trees have their own Natural Spirit and the word "haunted" should instead be reserved when the trees are inhabited by spirits other than their own. Like in the cases where the obsessed dead attach themselves to the trees. In the tradition I work within the Black Ironwood tree is for example known to be like a magnet for the dark and obsessed dead. It attracts the souls of suicides, murderers and murder victims and is fed with blood on each Good Friday in order to lend its powers to the workings later done with his (the Spirit of the tree's) aid. So, that tree has its own spirit, which is a dark and powerful one, but it is also most often haunted by the evil ghosts.

    Very good for black magic.