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A Buddhist ordination takes place traditionally during two days.
The first day happens into the family circle and is related to the ordination preparation
("PHITI BUAT NAK" - พิธีบวชนาค).
The last day related to the ordination takes place in the pagoda.
Day Two morning
On the second day, the music band is ready to bring good time for the revellers
that shall join the festive parade.
The "YOM UPATTHAM" (โยมอุปถัมภ์)
is sponsoring the ordination and pay the expenses of the monk during his period
in the order. He is believed to make great merit.
The young man has traditionaly requested to his parents to enter the monkhood
through the formula "KHO LA BUAT" (ขอลาบวช).
Similar to princes, the ordinands are supposed, same as Prince Siddharta more than
2500 years ago, to leave their palace, their family and prepare them-selves to live outside the
People dance, shout and drink. Everybody is happy. This is a festive time
in the village.
All the family and neighbourhood parade in the village with
This a festive parade where all people are dancing, drinking and have a lot of
Two days before the ordination ceremony, the young men stay home
in order to avoid any material temptations that could lure them from the religious path.
A loud music band is joining the parade to bring enjoyment for all.
Take part to an ordination ceremony is the opportunity for good deeds and merits
for those who help.
People dance, shout and drink. Everybody is happy. This is a cheerful time
in the village
The ordinands wear white clothes, symbol of purity. These clothes are
If parents have three sons and the three sons become monks,
parents cannot go to hell as they shall receive so much merits from the ordinations!
Depending on the province and the ceremony variations, the ordinands
may walk, be carried by others, ride a horse or an elephant!
If the Buddhist temple
(วัด) is too far from the
ordinand's home, the ordinand may be transported by
a car close to the temple. Then the last kilometer is done
through a festive and cheerful parade.
In this festive parade, the ordinand is carried on a cart
pulled by two cows. Somebody is holding an umbrella above the
During some festive parades, the ordinand is carried on a cart
pulled by several cows.
Beautifully dressed little girls are joining the parade
Those little girls are pure (บริสุทธิ์) so
they can carry sacred items to be offered to the Buddhist temple.
Six days before the ordination, the
layman should go to the temple, should participate to all activities of the
monks but is not still a monk. The head is not shaved.
Little girls are carrying "PHAN PHUM" items
(พานพุ่ม) used to pay respect
to the King, the Queen and Buddha. It is a Royal way to wish
good health and merit (บารมี).
In Buddhist temples, those items are displayed
in front of big Buddha statues (ถวายวัด).
During wedding ceremonies, people give money and later will get back the same amount
of money when their children marry. For ordination ceremony, the same amount and a bonus
shall be given.
This young teen lady is holding a banner mentioning the Buddhist
ordination and featuring the ordinands' names.
The young girls and boys are normally family relatives of the ordinands.
Only young children (เด็กบริสุทธิ์) can carry "PHAN PHUM" items.
It should be young girls not yet married and not having children already
(ไม่เสียพรหมจารี). Only new things and gifts shall be offered to the temple.
The music band is arriving on time to bring good time for the
revellers who will join the festive parade.
"MA PEN" (ม้าเป็น) is a term used when a real
horse is used to carry the ordinand.
"MA TAI" (ม้าตาย) is a term used when a
carriage is used to carry the ordinand.
Some ordinands may be afraid of riding horse.
Falling from a horse during the ordination festive parade is a bad omen.
In old times, carriage supported by 10 to 20 people was used to transport
the ordinand. It was called "MA MAI PAI" (ม้าไม่ไผ่)
or "MA SAN" (ม้าสาร).
Friends of the ordinands, neighbours are joining the festive parade
and to help preparing the ceremony. Reverse help is expected.
Next time the ordinand and his family have to help for
If a young man has to do his military service
(โดนทหาร) for one or two years, he may never be
A festive atmosphere is happening. Even a ladyboy
(กะเทย) is part of the cheerful parade.
The last part of the parade is called "KHAO BOT"
(เข้า) or entering inside the chapel.
There are many kinds of parade around Thailand. In some areas, the ordinands ride
a horse, an elephant or simply walk.
Ordinands, wearing royal clothes and cosmetics, parade through the village
being carried by horses, elephants or friends.
Thai men need to check if they have to do their duty in the armed forces first.
If they have been selected, they need to be soldier for two years. If they have not been selected, then they
can be monks.
A boy is not a man until he hasn't been a monk a period of time. Traditionaly this period
was three months. Nowadays it can be only a few weeks or days. Some families still refuse to marry
their daughter if the future husband hasn't been a monk for a short period of time.
It means that he isn't ripe enough.
Some Thai men and their family may have to delay the Buddhist ordination
due to financial issue. A Buddhist ordination can cost up to 100 000 Baht. Some families don't have
such big amount of money.
Everybody can join the festive parade from very young children to elderly people.
No age limitation!
Such parade is always a big event in the neighbourhood. Spectators enjoy the parade
and may even join the revellers!
If money is a concern, a Thai man can always ordain quietly without
involving family and relatives. Then there is no festive parade.
Day Two morning - entering the temple
The festive parade finally reaches and enters into the Buddhist temple.
The festive parade turns around the "BOT"
(โบสถ์ - the finest building where monks
are assembled for rites) three times and then enters inside.
The second day is full of events with a colorful festival parade and
the monk ordination.
To schedule the Buddhist ordination ceremony, it is necessary to book the Buddhist
temple a few months in advance to secure the date.
Walking three times around the chapel, i.e.
i.e one pour the Buddha, one for the Sangha
(สังฆ - Buddhist community),
one for the Dharma
(ธรรม - teachings of the Buddha).
The monk candidate is dressed with a white robe. He is walking around the Buddhist
temple three times also.
It is a tradition for the monk candidate to turn to his relatives and scatter coins,
symbolising his rejection of worldly goods.
Once the ordinand enters in the main chapel to become the monk, the festive
Little girls, carrying "PHAN PHUM" items (พานพุ่ม) used
to pay respect to the King, the Queen and Buddha, are leading the festive parade.