Happy New Year everyone!
For New Years Eve, I went to festivities at Wat Phuket.
Monks and others were letting off lanterns and I jumped and screamed when one lit a fireworks rocket behind me. There were performances of singing and dancing, and a Karaoke contest. The street to the temple was lined with bamboo pole lights which were very enchanting and inviting.
I didn’t think I could stay awake till midnight but I went inside the temple, where earlier I hung a 100 baht offering that joined the hundreds of other offerings to the temple that criss-crossed the interior.
Buddhist practitioners packed the temple at about 11pm. There was about 30-40 minutes of chanting and meditation before the clock struck 12. I was so sore and had to shift several times. Did I mentioned it was very cold that night? I wore two scarfs and people had on hats, mittens and coats.
Afterwards, hot kao tom, or rice soup, was served and then people either went home or stayed up to light more lanterns and set off firecrackers. A traditional Thai dance called a rum was going strong across the way. I went home and lit my own lantern (I forgot to bring it to the temple). It sailed into the sky as I said a few blessings for you, the world and me… Did you here them?
I attended a Buddhist ceremony called a tam boon Thursday morning at Chomchon Silalang school. Tam boon is basically a tradition of giving in Thailand. It can involve monks or not. My other school is holding a tam boon by selling lottery tickets for school improvements to help student learning. The tam boon at Silalang offered food and other goods to 17 plus monks. I knew many of them as my students from the Temple I teach at on Fridays. The community was invited to participate as it was a way to also celebrate and give blessings for the new year. The monks chanted and then walked around the student-lined sports court. Each student offered something to the monks. As receptacles were filled, contents were carefully dumped into huge bags, that student helpers were carrying. Then people moved indoors to the auditorium where nine seniors monks led further chanting with students and kru participating. A thick white string was passed to the monks who held it in their palms as they chanted. On New Year’s eve, a similar ceremony was held inside Wat Phuket and Buddhist practitioners and I held the string. Today, one monk chanted for about 45 minutes straight while the other monks echoed him with another layer of chanting. The lead monk appeared to loose his place at times, but I can’t be sure. I will have to ask one of my teachers. He sprayed holy water on all of us and gave me a good dose as he walked through the auditorium. I was proud of the students who chanted during some of the prayers. They have done a good job of learning Pali and showing respect by not messing around too much. They sat without being too restless for about 30 minutes. That was the limit, later, they got squirmy and several teachers had to sh…. them.