Today was Krathin Prarachatan (Garam Pa Ra Chi Tan?  I truly have no idea of the spelling here, and what I noted was vastly different from what my co wrote for me when I asked!), a Thai holiday we just celebrated locally at the Wat (temple) next to the school.  The students prepared offerings and took them to the Wat, and the rest of us just made merit and asked for blessings upon (and from?  I'm still not wholly sure!) the Royal family.
Making merit is what we call the Offering; I think that's the closest we come to it in the Protestant church.  Here in Thailand we give money, but also anything that might be useful for monastic life, so people give laundry detergent, cereal, soymilk, rice, prepared food, toothbrushes, a wide variety of things that keep an institution that relies upon goodwill to continue operation.  Smile, can you imagine an offering plate overflowing with bottles of dish soap, packs of tissue, and Tupperware filled with spaghetti and the like?  Or, can you imagine our pastors only being allowed to live on what was offered to them by us parishioners?  And not being able to refuse anything that's offered?  At any rate, in exchange for these offerings there is chanting prayer and blessings (similar to our forgiveness of sins?).  I know that the special thing about today, as opposed to birthdays or any other regular day one might visit the Wat, is that it focuses on the Royal family.
Next year when this holiday rolls around I'll try to remember to take pictures and get further clarification!

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    These are the personal opinions of Spook, and do not reflect those of the Peace Corps.


    January 2014