Thailand has very many traditions, many of which are based on Buddhism, the religion most Thais belong to. One of these traditions is the donation of food to monks. If you know a thing or two about Thai culture, you already know that Buddhist monks are involved in most major ceremonies. During these ceremonies, the monks receive a donation in terms of food among other things.
Below are more things you need to know more about the tradition of donating food to monks in Thailand.
When Monks Come Out To Receive Alms In The Morning
Thai monks rely solely on donations they receive from the people. Usually, they leave the monasteries early in the morning carrying bowls through which they receive donations. Food is one of the commonest donation made, although people also donate flowers and incense sticks.
This is a long tradition that goes way back to when Buddhist monk’s destitute people who did not even have a place to sleep and had to rely on the generosity of the people to stay fed.
Leaving Food At The Alter
Sometimes, food can just be left at the alter in the temple. Donating food like this is considered an act that connects the individual with the spiritual world, and can even be accompanied by chants and prostrations. Making such a food donation is also considered a way to show selflessness and the ability to care for others.
During A Thai House Warming Party
Inviting friends and family to celebrate with you as you move into a new house is no ordinary occasion in Thailand. Thais take this occasion very seriously, and a two-part ceremony has to take part during which monks will be involved in blessing the family members and ridding the house of spirits that might have been living there before you moved in. More importantly, at the close of the ceremony, you are not only supposed to give the monks some gifts as offering, but you are also supposed to give them some food, which they will eat during the occasion.
The separate gift items can also contain food items such as crackers and biscuits among other things a monk might need in his every-day life. The foods offered during the house blessing ceremony usually have certain significant meanings. For instance, mung bean noodle is a common dish for the occasion, since it symbolizes longevity according to Thai traditions.
Donating Food During Other Important Occasions
Monks make regular appearances in major cultural celebrations in Thailand, for instance, weddings, and funerals. During these occasions, it is common for those celebrating the occasion to make donations to the monks, some of which are usually foods that the monks can eat once they go back to the monastery.
Donating food to monks is considered one of the most powerful religious acts in the notoriously Buddhist Thai culture. Typically, food donations to the monk occur during any occasions they are invited to. Additionally, donations can also be made directly to the temple by leaving donations at the alter.
However, monks primarily get their food donations by going to visit the lay people every day in the morning for alms donations.