Nang Tani Picture

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Nang Tani ("Lady of Tani") is a female spirit of the Thai folklore. According to folk tradition this ghost appears as a young woman that haunts wild banana trees.

This ghost inhabits the clumps of wild banana trees and is popularly represented as a beautiful young woman wearing a green traditional Thai costume. Most of the time Phi Tani remains hidden, but she comes out of the tree and becomes visible especially on full moon nights. She has a greenish complexion, blending with the tree. She generally appears in a standing position and her feet don't touch the ground, but hover slightly above it. In some modern representations the lower part of her body is represented with an immaterial quality, her waist cloth ending in a kind of wisp emanating from the tree trunk. Nang Tani generally has a gentle disposition and may give food to passing Buddhist monks.

It is considered a bad omen to cut trees from the clump Tani inhabits. Offerings are made to her in the form of sweets, incense stick and flowers. Often people also tie a length of colored satin cloth around the trunk of the banana tree believed to be haunted by her. The Kluai Tani type of banana trees do not belong to the cultivated varieties. Owing to their connection with ghosts, people prefer not to have them growing near their homes and they are not found within village compounds. However, clumps of this tree are found not far from inhabited areas, often at the outskirts of villages or at the edge of cultivated fields by the roadside. They look very much like average banana trees, but their fruits are not edible.

Legends of the Thai oral tradition say that this spirit may harm men, especially those who have wronged women, but it is mostly considered benevolent. Amulets featuring Nang Tani are popular and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some people tie lengths of colored silk around the trunks of the banana trees reputed to be haunted by Nang Tani.
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