Colorful parades and offering ceremonies at the end of monks´ retreat at local temples
On Owk-Pansa day of the full moon, villagers and city dwellers will go to their local temple for prayers and paying respect to the sacred
relicts. Owk-Pansa is also the beginning of a 30-day period of merit making which affords a special opportunity for prayers to Buddha and for the presentation of gifts to the monks for preserving the faith. This thirty-day span of merit making and religious gift giving is referred to as Thord Pha Gathin.
Thord Gathin takes its name from the "laying down" of new robes to the monks. The offering of new, saffron robes to the monks is particularly meritorious and important . Other gifts to the monks may include basic utensils, toiletries, writing materials and food .
All gift giving are acts of appreciation and gratitude to the monks individuals or community groups (such as a village) may perform them. Many villagers combine efforts by collecting money donations for the maintenance of their local temple. Such donations are vividly arranged on a "money tree" which looks rather like a colorful Christmas tree bedecked with 20, 50 and 100 baht notes as the "foliage". The money tree is ceremoniously paraded to the temple, led by a team of lively drummers and musicians, with the villagers carrying their own individual gifts on beautiful trays, bringing up the rear. In this way at Thord Gathin, the lay-people of Thailand reaffirm their faith and, in a joyous fashion, bring gifts to Buddha and his servants.
The 4 min. video preview shows the most colorful scenes of a Gathin Festival at a village temple in SiSaKet, NE-Thailand. You can see this Video in HD mode and in full screen at Youtube ( clicking on the "watch in HD" icon at the YouTube player):
© 2009 mickspatz