Saturday, 17 November 2012

Kathina Buddhist festival in Lunas

While Monday saw us at the Sasaranakkha Buddhist Sanctuary in Taiping, on Tuesday we were at the Buddhist Hermitage Lunas for their Kathina celebration. The car park was  filling up fast and the BHL was already packed with people who had arrived since the early morning.

In the kitchen, volunteers were already getting down to work in preparing the food for the monks and devotees. We were just in time for breakfast, actually.

At 9.45a.m., the Kathina procession began. Led by an image of the Buddha, the procession wound its way slowly through the compound of the BHL. Behind, a few hundred devotees followed.

There was also an equally large number of devotees from the Burmese community at the BHL. Ever since they built the huge arch across the entrance in the Hermitage several years ago, they have considered the BHL as their spiritual home. Across from the kitchen, they had already claimed their own space to prepare for their celebration.

To the Burmese, Kathina is an important Buddhist festival and their celebration would inevitably feature their donation trees. Some were already well decorated but there were a few still in the process of being put together.

Of course, what is a festival here in Malaysia if there's no food? I was early enough to enjoy samples of Burmese dishes they offered. But not my wife; she was rather hesitant to try. Off hand, I would also guess that there were a few hundred Burmese. Totally recognisable when they wear their sarongs.

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