International Participation in a Traditional Event
In a spectacular display of unity and devotion, 10,000 Buddhist monks from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia gathered in the heart of Hat Yai city for the annual tradition of receiving alms from Buddhists. This year’s event marked the 20th anniversary of the mass alms offering ceremony, which resumed after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ceremony and Attendees
The mass alms offering ceremony commenced at 6 am on Nipat Uthit 3 road, within Hat Yai Municipality. Presiding over the event was Somdet Phra Maha Vajiramangalachan, the chief of the southern Buddhist sector. Maj Gen Pakorn Chantarachota, commander of the 42nd Army Circle, was also present.
Monks attending the event hailed from 14 provinces in southern Thailand, as well as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Thousands of Buddhist worshippers from these countries participated, showcasing the bond shared by Buddhists from diverse regions.
Reviving Tradition and Boosting Tourism
Withaya Sae Lim, spokesperson for the organizing committee, shared the significance of this year’s event and its impact on the region. As the 20th edition of the mass alms offering ceremony, it also aimed to revitalize tourism in Songkhla, specifically in Hat Yai city.
The event proved to be a major success, as all hotels in the area were completely booked by pilgrims. It is estimated that at least 20,000 tourists attended the ceremony, generating a revenue of around 180 million baht.
Alms Distribution to Temples and Soldiers
The alms collected during the ceremony will be distributed to 323 temples across southern Thailand. Furthermore, these offerings will also provide support to soldiers stationed along the southern border with Malaysia. This gesture highlights the spirit of sharing and compassion emphasized in Buddhism.
Overall, the mass alms offering ceremony in Hat Yai not only showcases the unity among Buddhists from various countries but also serves as a means to rejuvenate the local economy and strengthen the sense of community.