Awk Phansa marks the end of the three-month Buddhist Lent period and the traditional end of the rainy season. The final day of the Buddhist Lent period falls on the full-moon day of the eleventh lunar moon and is known in most parts of Thailand as Awk Phansa, although there are some regional variations. According to Buddhist belief, the day commemorates when Buddha descended back to earth after spending three months in heaven where he had visited his mother. His return was greeted by his followers with gifts of food and today Thai Buddhists mark the event by visiting the wat and making merit. My thanks to this site for that information – Tony
With the end of Buddhist Lent monks across Thailand were being formally fed at their wats. We called into our local forest wat a short distance from the family farm while Yuan and Bear supported the village temple located in the opposite direction. I always love these occasions because they are small, intimate and many of the faces are familiar. I am (almost) included as a fellow villager.
The end of Buddhist Lent is more formally celebrated over the next three weeks with each temple having a large gathering where the monks are once again fed and money raised. You will often see large numbers of monks at these occasions as they are timed to allow the monks from several wats to travel to each other’s festivals.
I have covered this celebration every year so I hope I am not boring you with repeats. I pick up new readers as we go along and the photos capture new moments each time.
This is as genuine as it gets. Everyday Isan people going about their normal routines. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it is to be involved in this sort of activity as opposed to the set pieces that most tourists experience and then go home saying they have seen Thailand! I am privileged indeed and recognise it everyday.
Huge quantities of food, far more than needed, but the excess is then available for the participants after. The food is served left to right with the most senior monks having the first choice and the juniors whatever is left over (not that they miss out on much with these quantities).
Because they are a natural product the rice bundles don’t have to be untied before going into the threshing machine. We bought a bundle, not for the harvest, but because the strips are used to tie reed roofing onto bamboo salas (huts) and I want my boat’s roof to be upgraded even though it won’t be floated until sometime next decade!
Thank you for reading.