Buddhists across Thailand gave offerings to local temples as they celebrated Asanha Bucha Day on Monday and their religion’s version of Lent on Tuesday.
The Asanha Bucha holiday falls every year on the full moon of the eighth lunar month. It is the day that Buddhism was established when the Buddha established gave his first sermon to five disciples after attaining Nirvana in the Maruekhathayawan forest in India more than 2,500 years ago.
Buddhism’s Lent Day, which falls the day after Asanha Bucha, marks the beginning of Buddhist monks’ three-month retreat to their temples during the rainy season.
In Narathiwat, a predominantly Muslim province in Thailand’s Deep South that is in the throes of a separatist insurgency, Buddhists offered alms in the morning at Khao Kong Park temple in Sri Sakhon district. Soldiers from the 9th Ranger Task Force and villagers attended the religious ceremony, carrying Lenten candles as part of the tradition.
In nearby Yala province, teachers and students from a local school offered phansa candles to monks. Traditionally, candles are given to the monks for use during their retreat.
In the Deep South, a traditional candlelight procession was held during the daylight hours for security reasons.
In Bangkok, Buddhists from Myanmar who work in Thailand joined Thai Buddhists during festivities at the famous Golden Mountain Chedi, at the Wat Saket temple.
“This is a sacred place, you can wish for anything,” Nopeh, a Karen woman told BenarNews, referring to the Golden Mountain, which she visits at least once a year.