Pattaya marked the end of three months of Buddhist lent with merit making and good deeds.
Auk Phansa, the end of Buddhist Lent, and the Tak Bat Devo ceremony the following day 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. Things have progressed since the tradition began, but its roots remain pure in spirit. Buddhists welcome the monks back to society with presentations of meats and desserts.
Buddhists on Oct. 13 eagerly prepared food, sweets, bananas with sticky rice, flowers, incense, candles and more to temples from Nongprue to Jomtien Beach.
Families came together, most dressed nicely, to pray for prosperity and pay homage to their ancestors. They made merit and listened to dharma sermons before doing good deeds, such as cleaning temples, decorating houses with the national flag and repairing religious places.
The following day observances continued with Tak Bat Devo, which usually is centered around a temple on a hillside, but stairs make do on flat land. Monks who’ve been in their rains retreat for three months emerge in a procession of golden gowns down the hill depicting the path Buddha took down a celestial stairway made of silver, gold and crystal.
Believers made merit by giving alms and performing good deeds which they dedicated to the memory of HM King Rama IX. The anniversary of his passing was also commemorated on Oct. 13.
Bars and entertainment venues were closed for the Buddhist holiday.