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2022-08-16 14:15

The first day of Thai Lent is referred to as Asalha Puja Day (or Commencement Day). This holiday will be celebrated at Wat Tampa on July 14 this year. The date of all of the Thai festivals is based on the lunar calendar so the "American" dates vary from year to year. You may also here Lent referred to as the "rains retreat."

Since the beginning of Thai Lent we celebrate Thai Mothers Day and Sart Thai Day (also known as Memorial day. Thai Mothers day pays respect to all Thai mothers and, in particular, the Queen of Thailand. Sart Thai Day is a celebration of the beginning of the harvest and is an opportunity to thank the deities for a successful harvest.

The end of Lent is marked by Ok Phansa. Ok Phansa marks the end of the "rains retreat" and the beginning of Krathin. Monks can return to their social duties and travel. Ok Phansa is also celebrated by lay people offering food and gifts to the monks. Ok Phansa is celebrated throughout Thailand but the celebrations vary by region.

According to legend Ok Phansa also celebrates the Buddha‘s return to earth, after spending one Lent season, which is 3 month long, preaching in heaven. It also marks the end of the Lent period of retreat and the beginning of Krathin, the traditional time for presenting new robes and other gifts to monks at temples throughout the country. This ceremony must be completed within one month of the end of Buddhist lent and only one ceremony in a year.

The Kathina ceremony may be held in conjunction with the End of Buddhist Lent celebration. The history behind the kathina Ceremony is as follows:

During Lent (roughly the rainy season in Thailand) monks could not travel.The monks stayed overnight in the same temple for three lunar months. The Kathina ceremony originates from the time of Buddha. The original ceremony was for a group of monks traveling to meet Lord Buddha. They were unable to completed their journey before the beginning of the rains retreat (Lent). At the end of Lent they completed their journey. Their clothes had become soaked and dirty on their way to meet Lord Buddha. When Buddha saw their condition he allowed lay people to offer the monks yellow robes. The tradition of presenting robes to monks continues today in the Kathina ceremony.

From a historical perspective the word Krathina has four meaning associated with it.

  1. A wooden frame used as a tool to stretch out a piece of cloth before sewing a new robe
  2. Any piece of cloth offered to the monks to make new robes with the tool described above
  3. The name of the merit making ceremony. This ceremony occurs once a year and is considered a day to gain great merit. Robes are presented to monks in general, not to one particular monk.
  4. The name of the Buddhist ritual.

You may have heard references to the Royal Krathina ceremony. There are, in fact two types of Krathina ceremonies as described below:

  1. Krathina Luang (Royal Kathina) - these ceremonies at held at royal temples (which includes Wat Tampa).
  2. Krathina Rart (Krathina Ratsdorn) - these are Kathina ceremonies held by lay people at public Temples
  3. The Temple will celebrate the Katrina Ceremony on October 27, 2019.
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