Friday, October 26, 2007

Burmese and Thais celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent

I took this video last week of an impressive fireworks celebration at a temple in Burma (turn up the volume and you can hear the monks chanting).

Today Burmese, Thais, Laotians and others around Asia celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent.

What is Buddhist Lent? Also called vassa (vasso in Pali, varsah in Sanskrit) meaning "rain," it lasts for three lunar months -- from July to October -- and coincides with the rainy season in northern Southeast Asia. Traditionally during the monsoon rains, Buddhist monks go into retreat. Monks may spend more time in their temples, and may adapt a strictly vegetarian diet. In Thailand or Burma, members of the laity will sometimes take monastic vows for the duration of vassa. More at Wikipedia.

At this moment, in Laos the dragon boat races are over and people are starting to light floating candles, in Thailand people are also setting candles afloat, and the Burmese -- hopefully -- are visiting temples and letting off firecrackers (Don't miss this rather unusual Jotman video!).

Video: Jotman

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