Bubble tea as offerings for sacred idols
Image adapted from: Payunbud
It is normal in Thai culture for locals to go to sacred idols and use holy items to make wishes. And if they want something really bad, they promise to give said idols votive offerings in return for a granted wish. These offerings could be anything from food items, garlands, and now, bubble tea!
On 18th August 2019, a picture of a line of bubble tea drinks from many well-known brands was posted on the Facebook page Payunbud, and it made people have a good laugh.
Modern day votive offerings
Shortly after the picture was posted, it received thousands of likes and shares as it was amusing to see these modern day offerings at temples.
Translation: We are in a new era, nobody uses Nam Deang (a red-coloured sweet drink that is commonly used as offerings) anymore.
Image credit: Payunbud
In the picture above, these drinks can be seen being offered to the Hindu elephant god, Ganesha. Someone also snapped a photo of rose milk teas from Cha Tra Mue left for the goddess Trimurti:
Image credit: Payunbud
Many people believe in such practices
It’s a common belief in Thailand that we have to provide offerings to gods when our wishes or dreams come true, as a gesture of thanks. One netizen wrote in to Payunbud’s page, saying that she’d told Lord Ganesha that if her wish came true, she’d offer him 5 bubble tea drinks. It turns out she got what she had asked for:
Another girl responded with a picture of Fire Tiger bubble tea, saying that she had visited the same god and asked for a job. When she got it, she offered the drink as her votive offering.
Translation: I followed your suggestion, and I got my first job with a 20K salary. I’m crying.
Netizens find it funny and relatable
As the photos went around online, people saw them and made many funny comments.
Someone even went far enough to wonder about the idols’ “health”:
Translation: Are the drinks less-sweet?
In Thailand, after we give any offerings to sacred statues, we can take them back later after politely praying. And because bubble tea is loved by everyone, people would like to take them for luck.
Translation: If we drink it, can it increase our luck?
Translation: I would like to take the holy bubble tea drinks back for my everlasting happiness.
After all, it’s about our individual beliefs. Some people are still very traditional and think it is not appropriate to give the gods bubble tea. Meanwhile, others believe that if we do things with good intentions, such as fulfilling a promise to return offerings, the gods will bless us anyway.