Tag Archives: Nat Sain

Nat Sain Legend

Nationality: Burmese

Primary Language: Burmese

Other Language(s): English, Chinese

Age: 19

Occupation: Student

Residence: Hanover, N.H

Performance Date: 03/17/2024

P.P has been my friend since middle school and is also a Burmese person who is originally from Yangon, Myanmar. When I asked her of any legends, myths or tales she knows of, she recounts a known legend about people who died really unfortunate deaths becoming spirits. Her housekeeper told her this story since she is from the rural areas of Myanmar where a lot of these myths are considered true. Back home, it was common for most households to have housekeepers and so the relationships between housekeepers and the children of the house was usually one that was really familial and close knit. 

“Nat Sain are spirits who, before they died, were good and kind people but were killed off in really unfortunate ways. Because of this, Nat Sain are known to be full of vengeance and malicious intent. In this one story, the village is trying to build a bridge but the bridge keeps tumbling and falling apart no matter how hard they try to repair it. The people of the town believed in mythical spirits so they thought that if they found someone that matched a certain requirement for a specific birthday, age, day of the week they were born, then they should sacrifice that person so that the bridge can work. There is this woman who had a husband that worked on the construction site near the bridge. She always brought him food everyday and was friendly to everyone and fed them her food as well. One day she started to converse with someone near the bridge and they started asking her questions about her birthday and realized that she matched all the sacrifice’s requirements perfectly. The next day, people captured her, wrapped her in a sleeping mat, and dug a hole where the bridge’s support is supposed to be, and buried her alive. They end up building a bridge on top of it. My housekeeper said this was a myth for a real bridge in her village so people would always worship or say prayers for that Nat Sain whenever they cross the bridge so that they can cross it safely. Honestly I think my housekeeper was just trying to scare me and tell me an entertaining bedtime story before I went to bed for her own entertainment ahaha. I still think it’s a real story but, I don’t think there’s another meaning behind the story other than just focusing on the Nat Sain’s background. Maybe the legend’s intent was to make sure people respect the spirits since they have their own history and can be dangerous to others if people come to their area/sacred place.”

After hearing this story, I was pretty terrified to say the least. I interpret this legend as a spiritual tale in Buddhism or Burmese folklore, that was used to scare people with the purpose of spiritual or religious reinforcement. These stories are scary yet believable enough to ensure people don’t stray away from religion since it implies that there are many mythical figures out there that could harm you if you are sinful. I think this story mainly serves to explain why the bridge didn’t work previously. By creating a story, it provided answers while making sure people prayed and was careful when crossing the bridge.