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Asanha Bucha Day by Chen Ting-ting (Thai new immigrant)

It has been raining in Taiwan in the last few days, and it reminded me of the monsoon season in Thailand. One of the very unique holidays during the monsoon season in Thailand is Asanha Bucha Day, also called Candle Festival. One of the main activities that we practice is take candles to the monks in the temples. Because there were no electric lights in the past, so candles are needed for monks to chant sutra at night. However, during the monsoon season, it’s difficult for monks to go out and beg for alms. Afraid the monks would not have enough candles at night, people decided to take the candles to the temples for them. Over time, this practice became a custom.
During Asanha Bucha Festival, many Thai people would return home to their families. I remember when I was still living in Thailand, every year during the festival, my home would come to live from all the visits from family and friends. My grandma would cook a lot of food and offer it to the monks in the temple, and share it with our family. One of my grandma’s specialty is three-flavor pork curry. Grandma’s curry is very different from the regular curry, it has additional ingredients, including tamarind juice, ginger, dried chili, shallot, lemon grass and other seasoning.
After the three-flavor pork curry and other dishes are prepared on Asanha Bucha Day, we would take everything to a temple for prayer. When I am in a temple, there is a sense of serenity and warmth in my heart, because I know I can spend time with family and friends whom I have not see for a long time. We will spend time listen to monks chanting sutra, have a chat and catch up. Many people from my hometown have left their home to work somewhere else, and could only return home during holidays. For me, Asanha Bucha Day is not just an unique holiday in Thailand, it is a special holiday that brings family together :)!

Delicious three-flavor pork curry

Doing good deeds in front of the temple as a family