People in Thailand are lavishing attention on dolls as they're believed to bring good fortune.
The dolls, referred to as "Luk Thep" or "Child Angels" gained popularity last year when Thai celebrities began publicly posing with the dolls and speaking of their benefits.
The BBC reports that after purchase, the dolls are taken to Buddhist monks who bless them in a ceremony called "plook sek", where wandering spirits are invited to inhabit and "animate" the dolls.
They have become so popular that the Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha asked Thais not to buy them if people cannot afford the dolls.
People have been lavishing attention on the dolls, which range in price from fifty to hundreds of dollars. Salons are offering them specialised hair cuts and beauty treatment.
One Thai restaurant has begun selling child portions so the dolls may dine with their owners.
According to the Bangkok Post Thai airline Thai Smile Airways offered passengers the opportunity to purchase plane tickets for the dolls. However the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand released a statement saying that only humans count as passengers.
"The dolls will be initially classified as luggage, not passengers. Based on international aviation rules, passengers are people. So airlines aren't allowed to sell tickets for dolls and assign a special code to the dolls. If passengers want seats for their dolls, they must purchase tickets under their names and comply with safety regulations throughout the flight. If they do not have tickets for the dolls, they must keep the dolls in overhead compartments."
The dolls have also be banned by a hotel in case they made other guests feel paranoid, and seized by Thai police due to suspicions the dolls were carrying drugs.
Speaking to BBC Thai, one woman said that she bought a luk thep so that her daughter would feel less lonely and fit in with other children.
“My daughter wants a sister and friend.” She said. "In her school, her friends also have luk thep... so my daughter wants to have one like other people."
This article has also appeared on BuzzFeed Español.
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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