|Buddha Statue in the Courtyard|
Tradition is to have chantings of blessing the night before, followed by a processional around the neighborhood in the morning and the offering of alms, a special robe, and lunch to the monks and all the devotees and participants in attendance. I didn't wait for the whole ceremony, which will go on until afternoon, but I went in time to see the processional.
|Some of the Sunday School students who have learned to play the traditional drums|
|The drummers leading the processional|
|The temple relics being carried on the head of one of the devotees|
The umbrellas are known as "Pearl Umbrellas" or "muthu kuda" as they are traditionally decorated with pearls and one of the special features of this type of processional.
The flags are Buddhist flags, featuring what are known as the Buddhist colors; each color has a significance.
|The Principal Monk of the Temple leading the monks|
|Procession of Monks with devotees following|
The monks were very happy to see me and even though I didn't stay for the rest of the ceremony, they tied a strand of blessed thread on my right wrist (usually tied on the right wrist, not the left). The blessed thread is formed of three strands of thread (to represent the three "jewels" of the Buddha, the Dhamma or Doctrine, and the Sangha or the disciples/monks) which are interwoven at intervals, which is held by everyone while blessings are chanted; the soundwaves of the chanting is supposed to be absorbed by the thread, and it becomes a visual reminder of the blessings that protect us. The monks gave me another piece of the blessed thread to keep and give to my daughter on her next visit home.
|The Blessed Thread on my right wrist|
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask; I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.