Sunrise Ceremony at Wat Saket
Posted by Peter C on February 18th, 2019 in Thai Festivals
The golden chedi at Wat Saket (the golden mount temple) is Bangkoks highest temple. The chedi contains sacred relics of the Lord Buddha that came from India, donated by the British government. An annual relics worshipping ceremony at sunrise or sunset is held to pay respect to the Buddhas relics. This is held every year during the November full moon, seven days before Loy Krathong day.
The ceremony usually involves a procession of worshippers through the surrounding streets holding aloft a large, bright sacred red cloth. On reaching the temple the cloth gets carried up the 344 steps to the summit. After the ceremony, the cloth gets wrapped around the chedi. The wrapping of the chedi is a way of paying respect and to mark the auspiciousness of the Loy Krathong festival.
In 2018 there was no parade through the streets or the usual temple fair that is held during the Loy Krathong festival. Instead, worshippers arrived at the temple before sunrise and made their way to the summit accompanied by the temples resident monks.
Once at the top people sign their names and those of loved ones on a red cloth. After signing, a wish for good fortune is made. Many of the worshippers dress in white. This signifies the purity of the heart and rejection of greed and anger. White is also a show of respect to the Buddha.
Sunrise Ceremony at Wat Saket
The sunrise ceremony at Wat Saket is led by the abbot of the temple who leads prayers while monks gather around the chedi to pay their respects. Worshippers sit on the floor and pray. Once the prayers are over the monks wrap the chedi in the sacred red cloth. The worshippers stand and pray to the chedi. They believe that paying homage to the bones of the Buddha gains them merit.
Gifts & Offerings
After the sunrise ceremony at Wat Saket, consecrated gifts are given to worshippers as lucky charms. The colorful offerings are given to the temple by businesses and temple followers and displayed on the rooftop. The offerings include fruit, flowers, beans, rice, and auspicious gold colored desserts. The desserts all include the word gold as part of their name. The fruit, flowers, beans, and seeds are given as a gift to the worshippers as a reminder that everything that comes from the Buddha is good.
The worshippers believe that receiving the gift will bring them good luck and bless them with bountiful food for the coming year. As this sunrise ceremony at Wat Saket only happens once a year the gifts are special. The monks and worshippers pray before the gifts and light incense sticks to pay respect. The sticks are stuck in, or among the gifts. After this, the worshippers are free to help themselves to the gifts which disappear quickly!
Wat Saket Festivals 2019
Wat Saket is one of the must-visit temples in Bangkok. There are several ceremonies throughout the year usually on important days in the Buddhist calendar. The next ceremony is on the eve of Makha Bucha Day which is February 19th, 2019. This involves a sunset candlelit march to the top of the mountain. Usually, the Loy Krathong festival at Wat Saket features a nine-day temple fair, though this does not happen every year.
Attractions near Wat Saket
If you visit Wat Saket there are more interesting temples nearby. A short walk away isLoha Prasatand Wat Thepthidaramboth of which are worth a visit. Also nearby is the King Prajadhipok Museum. Transport links are good with the Phan Fa Lilat Pier a few minutes walk away where the Saen Saep Canal Boat can whisk you to Ratchaprasongand Pratunam in 15 minutes.
Where to Eat & Sleep
If you?re dying for a coffee or a bite to eat there is a pleasant cafe on the way up to the top of the Golden Mountain. Also nearby are Korrakang Cafe (opposite Wat Thepthidaram) and Blue Tree Coffee next to the 7-11 by the canal boat pier. There are a couple of street food stalls outside the 7-11. If you would like to stay in the area the budget priceSmile Innhas nice rooms, hostel rooms and a nice terrace overlooking the canal. A few doors down is the Region Hotel. The RimKlong Hostel?has dorm accommodation and a nice terrace by the canal. More accommodation can be found at Khaosan Road which is a 10-15 minute walk away.
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