Pattaya Buddhists crowded temples mark the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha on the most important of Thai religious holidays, Visakha Bucha Day.
Believers began the day early, taking children and relatives to make merit at local temples. Food and desserts were given as offerings to monks, who returned the favor by teaching dharma. Many elderly worshippers followed tradition in wearing white and eating only vegetarian meals on the holiest of Buddhist holidays.
Sutthawat, Chaimongkol, Boonkanjanaram and other temples held merit-making ceremonies, some of which went on for a week. To make merit, temple-goers offered robes and necessities, paid respect to Buddha statues, gave offerings, and poured holy water for prosperity.
In the evening, “wien tien” circumambulations of temple halls commenced with worshippers making three rounds lit by candles.
Visakha Bucha Day is one of the three holiest days on the Buddhist calendar and has been designated by USESCO as “World Peace Day.” The educational, scientific and cultural organization’s proclamation cited Buddhism’s teaching of humanity, mercy and tolerance as the reasons for the designation.