Pattaya Buddhists made merit and paraded with candles as the area celebrated Makha Bucha Day.
Temples throughout the city saw worshippers present offerings of meat, dried foods and desserts to monks, light candles and incense, lay flowers on statues of Lord Buddha and listen to sermons and meditate on one of the holiest Buddhist holidays of the year.
Pattaya Buddhists, shown here on “Buddha Hill” (Wat Khao Phra Yai), made merit and paraded with candles as the area celebrated Makha Bucha Day, one of the holiest days on the Buddhist calendar. This day commemorates the miraculous event when 1,250 disciples of the Buddha, Gautama Sakayamuni, traveled to meet with the Buddha with no prearranged agreement, at Weluwan Mahawiharn Temple in the area of Rachakhryha, India.
At Chaimongkol Temple, Abbot Punya Rattanaporn presided over an alms offering with more than 70 monks and novices. The monks performed the water-pouring ceremony and addressed the five precepts while blessing worshipers.
People present alms to monks at Wat Chaimongkol.
Families, couples, teenagers, and the elderly arrived at Suttawas and Nongyai temples with prepared food, meat and desserts to offer alms. It showed many put traditional observances above the western consumerism of Valentine’s Day.
After dark, more than 100 people flocked to Wat Khao Phra Yai, home to Pattaya’s “Big Buddha” which is also famous for its dharma practicing center. There they lit candles and marched three times around the temple grounds in the traditional “wien thien” ceremony.
Buddhists pray in front of Phra Puttha Sukhothai Walaicholtan at Wat Khao Phra Yai.
Mediation prayers were led by Sittichai Sittitharo, secretary to the Naklua Monks Committee and assistant abbot of Chaimongkol Temple. He recited the flower-presentation stanzas for the large Buddha known as Phra Puttha Sukhothai Walaicholatharn.
At Samakhee Prachara Temple, Abbot Sumethee Worakhun chanted prayers with laypeople before starting the wien thien ceremony with more than 300 participants. The temple prepared flowers, incense and candles along with chanting of Recollections of the Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha.
Monks sprinkle holy water on citizens for prosperity before going home.
The holiday was also festive, with the fair at Wat Chaimongkol representative of the festivities. The temple organized celebrations and booths selling food and products.
The busy temples contrasted sharply with the rest of Pattaya, where non-Buddhist tourists found bars and entertainment venues closed and dark and no alcohol to be sold in stores.
Citizens present Sangkhathan at Wat Nongyai.
Monks lead the wien thien around the chapel in Wat Samakhee Pracharam.
Couples ring the bells at Wat Chaimongkol Phra Aaramluang after taking part in the wien thien ceremony.
Local folks pray during the wien thien ceremony to remember Lord Buddha.
Nuns prepare their candles for the wien thien ceremony on Makha Bucha.
Making merit in Wat Chaimongkol on Makha Bucha Day.
Many people take part in the wien thien ceremony at Wat Suttawas.
Walking Street businesses shut their bars on Makha Bucha Day.