Thod Kathin Festival begins at Wat Chaimongkol

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With the end of Lent, Pattaya Buddhists opened a 30-day period of devout merit-making with the annual Thod Kathin Festival at Chaimongkol Temple.

Prasit, Monta and Atchara Srichote this year received the royal proclamation to chair this year’s event, along with Surat “Mike” Mekavarakul representing Pattaya, before Panya Rathanaporn and 59 other monks.

Celebrated in Issan, Cambodia and Laos, the Thod Kathin Festival typically includes colorful  parades and offering ceremonies beginning on Auk Phansa, the end of Buddhist Lent, which this year fell on Oct. 8. Chaimongkol Temple began its festivities Oct. 14.

Monta Srichote chairs the Thod Kathin Ceremony in honor of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.Monta Srichote chairs the Thod Kathin Ceremony in honor of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thod Kathin sees Buddhists go to their local temple for prayers and to pay respect to sacred relicts. It also marks the start of a 30-day period of merit making which affords a special opportunity for prayers to Buddha and for the presentation of gifts to the monks for preserving the faith. Principal among the offerings are new saffron-colored robes.

Early in the morning, people began to arrive at Chaimongkol, wearing their best clothes. They carried food prepared at home, in highly decorative gold or silver bowls, and offered it to the monks. After this breakfast, the people were blessed by the monks and many returned to their homes. The more devoted remained at the temple and, later in the morning, took a vow with the monks to keep either five or eight precepts throughout the entire day.

After taking this vow, they split their time between praying, listening to the monks’ preachings and meditating. In the evening, the monks led a candle lit procession, making three complete circuits of the main temple building. This event signifies the end of the celebrations.

This year 3.75 million baht was donated to the temple, which will use it for future projects and construction of new and renovated buildings.