Who is Nang Tani?
Nang Tani (นางตานี) is a spirit being in the form of a young woman from Thai folklore.
Nang Tani is a ghost in the form of a young woman who wears a green traditional Thai dress and has deep red lips. It lives under banana trees and appears on full moon nights. According to Thai traditions, it belongs to the genus Nang Mai (“Lady of the Forest”), i.e. female spirits or fairies associated with trees. A similar spirit exists in Cambodian folklore and Lao folk tradition.
In Thai culture, Nang Tani is often portrayed as a kind spirit who helps people, especially those who got lost in the forest. It is considered a bad omen to cut down banana trees in the forest inhabited by Tani. According to legends, she occasionally seduces men into having sex with her during the full moon, and then when they cheat on her by loving another woman, she kills them.
Apart from her jealousy, however, Nang Tani is considered quite benevolent. Nang Tani usually has a noble disposition and sometimes offers something to eat to passing Buddhist monks. Amulets depicting Nang Tani are very popular and they come in various shapes and sizes throughout Thailand. Some people tie colored silk ribbons around the trunks of the banana trees in which Nang Tani is suspected.
However, it is also said that they are generally friendly and helpful spirits who often provide food and shelter to those in need. It is believed that they were once human beings who were elevated to the status of guardian spirits because of their good deeds. As such, they are often seen as powerful allies by those seeking their help.
Recommended glossary entries