Ethnic Khmer’s welcomed summer during a traditional celebration in Soc Trang Province.
The festivities are held every year on the 15th day of the 6th month according to the lunar calendar.
Participants bring with them offerings to pagodas in order to pray for a good year for their families and for the country.
Monk Thach Bohl, who manages Bon Mat Pagoda at Phu Tan Commune, Chau Thanh District, Soc Trang Province, said this celebration was started from the time of Sakyamuni Buddha and takes place for 2 days.
The first day starts in the afternoon. Khmer people bring flowers, incense, huge candles and other offerings to pagodas. The candles are the most important offerings for Buddha. They are lit throughout the summer and are symbolic for a sound mind.
On the second day, Buddhists offer cooked rice, water, and other offerings to pagodas in order to pray for the peace of souls of the dead and the living.
After listening to scriptures recited by monks, Buddhists bring their candles and circle around the pagoda 3 times, then place the candles in the main hall. Candles will continue to be lit until the end of summer.
According to Monk Thach Bohl, another honouring is that drums are beat for 2 days in pagodas of Theravada Buddhism (It is sometimes called “Southern Buddhism”).
Thach Ten, 82, living at Phu Tan Commune shared, “I go to the pagoda daily to attend this celebration. I want to pray that I will live longer and my children will have happy and healthy lives.”
Below are some pictures of the celebration:
Khmer people gather at the pagoda
Buddhists offer food to monks
Monks recite scriptures before using food offered by Buddhists
Candles offered to Buddha
Praying to Buddha
Beating drums lasts two days
Buddhists circle around the pagoda and bring their candles
Gathering in the main hall to offer incense
Bringing candles into the pagoda