Earlier this month I posted this picture to talk about the wooden shrine in the back on the right. Today I want to point out the wooden stools for customers to sit on when trying on shoes. Heavy, bulky wooden furniture is a sign that a family or a business has “arrived,” that they have made it. The wooden stools and other pieces appear in any and every kind of business. (See it in gas stations.) This shoe shop has to have the wood also and, actually, it makes more sense here where it doesn’t need to be moved much and is out of the weather.
Almost every home and shop in Cambodia will have some kind of shrine, like the one above, next to the fan. These are different from the spirit houses which most buildings will have also. The spirit houses are replacement dwellings for the spirits who were displaced when the humans erected a house or other building. The shrine above is an acknowledgement of a more active spiritual presence and the shoe store staff will every day burn incense and make offerings in the shrine.
Today is Pentecost Sunday for Christians. Last week on the day of the Ascension, Jesus handed over his mission to the apostles before ascending into heaven. Today Jesus imparts his Spirit to guide and strengthen the apostles in their mission to the ends of the earth.
The Khmer culture attends to the spirits also.
In the pictures above, a dental assistant at a dentist’s office first says a prayer, holding sticks of incense (L), and then she puts the incense (M) in the shrine on the right side of the entrance. Then she puts more incense in the holder to the left of doorway.
Notice where the wet track marks go in this picture…. They don’t go to the gas pumps. Instead they go THROUGH the gas station. Click here to see how Cambodian drivers shortcut through the stations.
People not previously familiar with wet and dry markets are maybe now more cognizant of wet markets because a wet market in Wuhan, China was the starting point of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to see pictures of a wet market in Cambodia.