Sawang foundation members clean Pattaya graves

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About 100 members of Sawang organizations in Pattaya and Sa Kaeo dug up Pattaya graveyard internees without families to clean bones and prepare them for a Buddhist cremation ceremony.

Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation President Visit Chaowalitnittithum and top officers welcomed members of the Sawang Tiengtham Thammasathan Aranyaprathet Foundation to the Sawang Boriboon Cemetery for the March 25 cleanup.

Members of Sawang organizations in Pattaya and Sa Kaeo exhume Pattaya graveyard internees without families to clean their bones and prepare them for a Buddhist cremation ceremony.Members of Sawang organizations in Pattaya and Sa Kaeo exhume Pattaya graveyard internees without families to clean their bones and prepare them for a Buddhist cremation ceremony.

Participants dug up 111 graves and removed the corpses for cremation. The ceremony included believers bowing before the bodies and praying to spirits. It also gave some who didn’t realize they had family in the graveyard an opportunity to properly bury their relatives.

The grave-cleaning ceremony originated in China and spread to Thailand. Legend purports that China had suffered flooding followed by an epidemic, leading to villagers falling ill and dying. However, there was one monk, Taihongkong, who did not abhor the dead bodies and elicited living relatives to search for dead bodies to perform funeral rites sending their souls at peace. This act was spread far and wide, thus, it was passed on to the following generation, who considered this act as a beautiful act of humanity, becoming what is known today as grave cleaning for corpses without relatives.

During grave cleaning, attendees must not under any circumstances comment to its smell and must not spit; these prohibitions have been passed on till today.