Black & white finale to Buddhist Lent

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The Abbot of Wat Chaimongkol leads residents in the Tak Baht Devo ceremony.
The Abbot of Wat Chaimongkol leads residents in the Tak Baht Devo ceremony.

It was a mix of black and white at area temples as Pattaya marked the last Auk Phansa of the royal mourning period.

Temples throughout the area were busy with both Thais and foreigners marking the end of Buddhist Lent Oct. 5. Believers who flocked to Nongprue, Boonsamphan, Sutthawat, Nong Or, Nong Yai, Thamsamakee, Chai­mongkol and Huay Yai temples offered dried food, flowers and daily necessities to monks.

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They filled alms bowls with cooked food, sweets and rice even as they prayed to honor the memory of HM the late King before his Oct. 26 cremation. The mourning period ends the day after.

Each temple hosted alms-giving activities where people offered a variety of goods, from beverages to dried food, rice, fruits and more to monks that have been in seclusion for three months. Buddhists believe that the more merit they make, the more prosperous their year will be.

The following day, temples hosted “tak baht devo” ceremonies, as per tradition. In honor of HM King Rama IX, people also spent the day “doing good for Dad” with community service projects.

Auk Phansa, the end of Buddhist Lent, and tak baht devo are the two-day observance of the end of the “rains retreat,” where, in olden times, monks remained within temple walls to avoid trampling rice crops and studied dharma by candlelight.

For tak baht devo, monks emerge in a procession of golden gowns down a hill or staircase depicting the path Buddha took down a “celestial stairway” made of silver, gold and crystal.

Students dress up as angels for the Tak Baht Devo activities.
Students dress up as angels for the Tak Baht Devo activities.
Presenting alms at Wat Suttawas.
Presenting alms at Wat Suttawas.
Residents prepared steamed goods for Tak Baht.
Residents prepared steamed goods for Tak Baht.
Candles lit to send a message to those who have passed.
Candles lit to send a message to those who have passed.
People take part in alms giving at Wat Boonsampan.
People take part in alms giving at Wat Boonsampan.
Golden bells hang beautifully at local temples.
Golden bells hang beautifully at local temples.
Worshipping Luang Poh To at Wat Suttawas.
Worshipping Luang Poh To at Wat Suttawas.
Donating to charity to purchase coffins for families who could not afford one.
Donating to charity to purchase coffins for families who could not afford one.