The 10th Lunar Month Making Merit

The 10th Lunar Month Making Merit

When : 23 September 2010
All day

Where : Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan and Suan Somdej Phra Sinagarindra 84 (Thung Tha Lat Park), Amphoe Mueang, Nakhon Si Thammarat

Category : Event / Festivals

Updated by : Admin

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What / Why :

The primitive people celebrated a ' thanks offering to spirits' custom on various occasions to beg for security and wealth of abundance. One such important occasion was a thanks-offering at the start of a new harvest, which later came to be called 'first planting' before extensive planting on larger plots was actually begun.

When the harvest arrived for the first time for the season , another thanks - offering to spirits was made. What was being sacrificed of offered to spitits was that first harvest called simply 'first rice '

Later on, when the Indian religions spread their influence to this region, local beliefs were infused with the new tenets from India to give rice to the Tenth Lunar Month or Sarda Merit - making Fair.

The practice of using what first comes into being or is acquired, as sacrifices to gods or spirits was represented in southern India as the ceremony of boiling a mixture of rice and milk to produce angelic rice or payas rice, which is subsequently offered to Ganesha the elephant god. In ancient Europe, it was called ' Thanks Giving Day '

The tenth month merit-making custom has a long tradition in southern Thailand. The Tenth Month Fair of Nakhon Si Thammarat which evolved from the ago-old custom remains the most wellknown of its type.

The tenth month merit-making custom is observed not only in the South but is common in the other regions as well and known by various names , depending on the prevalent social and cultural environment of the localities.

The tenth month merit-making custom is also practiced among the people speaking the Tai-Lao (Sino-Tibetan) languages outside Thailand and among the Khmers, Mons and Myanmar

Whatever name it is known by , the essential message remains the same: To offer first seasonal batch of farm produce to gods and ancestral sprits as well as offer food to monks and brahmins in the hope of securing abundance for the community for the season and those that follow.

The custom had been observed continually from the primitive times and was later recorded in palace laws during the carlier Ayutthaya period and in local literature of the Northeastern and Northern regions.

The South has a long tradition of the tenth month merit-making observance. The practice is closely tied to the ceremonial provocation of ancestral sprits or a long line of deceased parents to come to a feast. Today a 'snatching demons' custom is observed during the tenth month or sarda festival. Baskets or trays of food cakes are laid down as food-cakes are laid down as food offering to demons which are taken to be ancestral spites. Once the basket are put down, throngs of people rush in and snatch the food, which practice is therefore called 'snatching demons' It is a common practice throughout the South, particularly at Nakhon si n Thammarat where it has been strictly observed from the ancient day tiff present.

At a subsequent time, a great annual festivity was held to celebrate jointly the ' Tenth Month Fair ' and the sarda custom since 1923 . The scope of activity was such that the tenth month custom at Nakhon si Thammarat has been much more popular and talked about than any other provinces.

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