Devotees Give Alms to Monks in Ritual at Chiang Mai Temples

 | Fri 10 Oct 2014 18:10 ICT

CityNews – Thousands of people flocked to Chiang Mai’s Wat Upakut on Tuesday night for a traditional ritual in which alms are given to monks.

Residents give alms to monks at Wat Upakut on Tuesday night. Photo: Weerasak Panyachod.

Up to 3,000 residents and tourists dressed in white and brought rice, dried food and household appliances for more than 300 monks and novices from various temples in downtown Chiang Mai. The monks lined up for hundreds of metres to receive the alms, and Thapae Road was temporarily closed.

The tak bat peng pud or tak bat thiang kuen ceremony is a northern tradition. When a full moon appears on a Wednesday, monks will ask for alms around midnight.

In Chiang Mai, the ritual takes place around midnight on the Tuesday leading into Wednesday, but in Chiang Rai, Lampang and Mae Hong Son it takes place a day later.

Elsewhere in Chiang Mai on Tuesday night, governor Suriya Prasartbandit presided over the ritual and led officials and residents to give food offerings to monks at Wat Suan Dok, where people also prayed for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Most temples held ritual chanting ceremonies, with sermons, merit-making merits and food offerings to Phra Upakut – after whom Wat Upakut is named – a Buddhist monk who is said to have preached in northwest India more than 2,000 years ago.

He is today venerated by those who believe he has magical and protective powers, and participants believe that giving offerings to Phra Upakut will bring them great merit, fortune and prosperity.