This year, the festival attracted the attendance of not only Khmer Buddhist followers in the South but also Buddhist followers from the northern provinces of Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai and Nam Dinh.
The exact procedure varies a bit, but usually on the designated day people begin to take their donations to the temple early in the morning. In mid-morning there is a large community meal, with monks eating first, then laypeople. After this meal, Buddhist followers parade three times around with a procession of cloth and other offerings such as flowers and medicine before the main rite is held in the chamber. During the rite, a monk will talk about the significance and meaning of the festival and wish every family happiness. Traditionally, monks with unusually shabby robes are given priority, and after that the robes are designated according to seniority.
Once the cloth is accepted, the monks begin cutting and sewing at once. Sewing of the robes should be completed that day. When the robes are sewn, usually in the evening, the new robes are ceremonially given to the monks designated to receive them.
The Kathina Festival is held at the Culture-Tourism Village of Vietnamese ethnic groups in Dong Mo, Hanoi.
It is an important festival of Theravada Buddhism.
Buddhist followers in their most beautiful costumes gather at the pagoda
to congratulate monks who spent three months in the pagoda during the Vassa.
Buddhist followers congratulate monks who completed the Vassa period.
Sharing the meaning of the Buddhist monks’ robe, Most Venerable Thich Gia Quang, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Executive Council said, “The Kathina Festival of Theravada Buddhism presents fully the significance of the Buddhist rite. The Buddhist followers offer robes to monks which means they will receive a lot of luck.
Participating in the festival, Buddhist followers from the North learnt more about Theravada Buddhismin the South. The festival not only helped preserve fine traditions and values of Buddhism but also helped make Buddhist followers in Vietnam become more close and friendly.
Story: Thuc Hien – Photos: Viet Cuong