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An inauguration ceremony called
"FANG LUUK NIMIT" (ฝังลูกนิมิต)
is done to consecrate a Buddhist temple. Some sacred marker spheres
"LUUK NIMIT" (ลูกนิมิต)
need to be buried in the temple compound.
The "SIMA" around the temple compound
are called big boundary stones
("SIMA JAI" - สีมาใหญ่).
The "SIMA" around the "UBOSOT" are called small boundary stones
("SIMA LEK" - สีมาเล็ก).
The main Buddhist religious ceremonies
(daily prayers, ordination of new monks) are held in the main shrine
hall called "UBOSOT" (อุโบสถ).
The consecration of an "UBOSOT" involves burying nine boundary stones. Then
there is a custom of placing boundary stones
("SIMA" - สีมา) over the spheres.
Before the inauguration ceremony, a feast happens in the Buddhist temple and can last one week
or nine days.
When a Buddhist ceremony happens in a Thai
temple, all the monks must be in the area limited by the boundary stones. That's
why for big temples with many monks, the boundary stones are around the
"UBOSOT" (visitor monks don't have to participate to ceremonies) and
for smaller temples the bounding stones are around the temple compound.
Temples in the Central Plains are richer. When the main chapel
("UBOSOT" - อุโบสถ) is old, it is easier and
faster to build a new one instead of restoring the old one.
In Thailand's Central Plains region, the temple festivals often happen around end of January
or beginning of February and match with Chinese New year.
People working in Bangkok come back to spend this
holiday in their family. Of course, Saturday and Sunday are the days when the
Buddhist temple can expect the highest donations.
For Isan temples, such fairs are often during New Year period as workers
come back for holidays in their family during this period.
Some Buddhist Thai temples can include various buildings and shrines such
as Chinese shrine, Mae Takhian shrine (ศาลเจ้าแม่ตะเคียน)
and various deities statues (Phra Rahu - พระราหู,
Vishnu - วิษณุ).
A "LUUK NIMIT" (ลูกนิมิต)
or sacred marker sphere is buried at
the inauguration ceremony.
Nine stone spheres demarcate the sacred space around the
"UBOSOT", i.e. one at the centre, four at the corners and four at the cardinal points.
Thai people are never out of money regarding donations to Buddhist temples.
As reminder from Buddhist abbot, there is no need to have too many things
(several houses etc...) as you cannot bring them when you pass away!
A lot of advertisement is done the previous weeks
and months. Big advertisements can be seen promoting the temple fairs.
Huge billboards are displayed in the area to advertise the forthcoming temple
consecration. It includes the place, date and the program timetable.
During the whole day and night, monks give blessing to
the numerous visitors.
Prayers are said by reading the scripts written on the wall panels.
Hands palms are joined and people sit down.
นอนโลงให้โชค or "NON LONG HAI CHOK" means sleeping in a coffin
to get chance. This ritual has become increasingly popular in the last few years.
It involves participants lying in coffins while monks perform death rites on them as if
they already passed away.
Participants believe they are reborn after the ritual
(ตายแล้วเกิดใหม่) with all their bad deeds buried behind them. This ritual
is also supposed to extend the life span.
During popular festivals, many temporary mobile shops open to
cater for business and provide food / drinks.
Walking under an elephant belly is supposed to bring luck.
Money donation and bank notes are attached on a string.
Then they are dispatched to the top of the "UBOSOT".
People entering the "UBOSOT" compound receive orchid flowers, joss sticks,
nine gold sheets (one to be stuck inside the building, 8 outside), lotus flower
with a 20 Baht note, sacred white thread and a paper with holy sentences to be read inside
the "UBOSOT". Visitors start by the boundary stone inside the building then turn
right and do the other eight boundary stones one by one.
Shoes have to be removed before entering
the "UBOSOT" (อุโบสถ), finest building
inside the temple compound.
People turn around the main chapel building and stick gold sheets on each boundary
stone. They also place one Baht coin on the top of each stone..
Thai people cover the sacred marker spheres with thin gold
leaves. This behavior is called "PIT THONG" (ปิดทอง).
Coaches from neighbouring provinces are bringing many visitors. They are coming to pay their
respect to Buddha and are helping for the "UBOSOT" construction and embellishment.
The money is used to repay the debts of the temple. The money has been borrowed to build the
Temples and monks activate their network contacts in order to have
visitors from other provinces coming to pay respect to the Buddha and participating to the festival
(ฝังลูกนิมิต) and so making donations.
It is common for temples in Thailand to surround the main chapel
("UBOSOT" - อุโบสถ) with small boundary stones
("SIMA LEK" - สีมาเล็ก), marking the territory
where monks may hold religious rituals.
Wat Ratchapradit in Bangkok placed small boundary
stones on the temple walls, allowing the monks to hold religious rituals at any
place in the temple compound.
People flock in the main chapel to stick gold leaves on
Buddha statues or sacred marker spheres
("LUUK NIMIT" - ลูกนิมิต).
During the afternoon, the music concert setup is starting.
It will take a few hours to build the stage. The performers are
sleeping in the transportation bus.
Few children are playing during afternoon time due to
hot weather. At evening time, they will flock.
In every temple fair, there is always a shop selling pictures of the
Royal Thai family.