Celebrating an 800 year old tradition at the Hae Pha Khuen That Festival. Held at the Phra Mahathat temple, this is regarded as one of the activities Buddhists should perform once in a lifetime. Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand. 18/02/2011
The International Makha Puja Hae Pha Khuen That Festival is celebrated every year at the Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihon in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.
The pagoda is considered to be the representative of the Lord Buddha and is believed to possess unsurpassed powers as it enshrines Buddha's tooth relics. Ten countries (Sri Lanka, China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Taiwan, Japan) have been invited to participate in the 2011 festival but thousands of Buddhist from many more countries travel to Thailand's southern city of Nakhon Si Thammarat on the full moon day of the 3rd lunar month, the day Buddha gave all Buddhist the principle or fundamental Buddhist teaching; the Ovadapatimokkha.
During the Makha Puja Hae Pha Khuen That Festival, sacred cloth are offered for the merit of the individual, a deceased, for a blissful rebirth, a way to avoid suffering caused by difficulties, diseases or obstacles, as objects of devotion, sources of inspiration or as a visual reminder of mindfulness and visual illustration of Buddhist teachings. Most of all it can remind Buddhist of the path towards enlightenment and the potential in every being to attain Buddhahood.
Thais define Phraboth Cloth (sacred cloth) as a rectangular piece of cloth in various size with the sacred painting of Buddha. The cloths are not only objects of devotion and source of inspiration, but also a visual aid to illustrate Buddhist teaching.
In 2011 the Festival took place from the 12th to 18th February with daily activities including demonstration of the Praboth Cloth painting, launch of sky lanterns, cooking of local food and dessert in an ancient market, traditional dance shows from Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and Japan.
On the last day of the festival the official ceremony is opening a dazzling procession of Praboth Cloth which takes pilgrims through the streets of the city to the Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihon where the Phraboth Cloth ceremony takes place and believer wrap the cloth around the pagoda to bring good fortune and success.