Ok Om Bok moon worshiping ceremony of Khmer people in Saigon


Khmer people in Ho Chi Minh City respectfully wait to be fed rice nuggets and food by the monk during the Ok Om Bok moon worshiping ceremony at Chantarangsay Pagoda, on the evening of October 26.

According to the customs of the Khmer people in the South, the full moon day of October is the Ok Om Bok festival, also known as feeding flat rice, which takes place during moon worship so it is also considered a moon worship ceremony. This is the end of the harvest season, people hold ceremonies to wish for good things before swallowing green rice in the presence of elders and the Moon God.

At 8:30 p.m., at Chantarangsay Pagoda, District 3, hundreds of people stood around abbot Danh Lung, waiting to be fed rice nuggets by the monk. According to tradition, the host of the ceremony will just feed the nuggets and will ask everyone’s wishes for the future.

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An indispensable moon offering item during the Ok Om Bok festival is flat green rice. There are also sugarcane, bananas, coconuts, potatoes… – harvest fruits to show gratitude to the Moon God, the god who is bringing good harvests and good wishes to people.

Com is made from young sticky rice seeds, usually harvested a week or half a month early, then soaked, roasted, and pounded to produce the product. This year, Chantarangsay Pagoda made about 50 kg of green rice.

Ms. Duong Thi Quyen, from An Giang, was fed flat rice by the monk. After that, she clasped her hands and bowed her head in front of the monk and sent good wishes to everyone. The ceremony ends in about 15 minutes. The temple also prepares many small bags of green rice for everyone to take home.

“It’s really meaningful for the Khmer people to preside over the offering ceremony. For the Khmer people, the moon worshiping ceremony is very important, it’s a big festival of the year,” the 40-year-old woman said.

Before that, Buddhists together lit nearly 1,000 flower lanterns placed around the temple yard, next to the Buddha statues. According to the abbot of the pagoda, if according to custom, lanterns will be released on the river. Every year, the pagoda often releases lights on Nhieu Loc canal. However, to maintain environmental hygiene, lanterns will be lit on site.

Son Thi Khanh Nga (left) from Tra Vinh respectfully lit flower lanterns with a group of friends. The 21-year-old female student said that lighting flower lanterns is a meaningful part of the Ok Om Bok ceremony. Every year she and her family often release lanterns in the countryside. “I pray for peace for myself and my family when releasing the lanterns,” Nga said.

A group of friends from Soc Trang of Bich Tram (second, left), 23 years old, made their own lanterns with roses and white lotus to express their respect to Buddha.

Throughout the ceremony, there is also the activity of tying red thread to pray for luck and peace.

In the temple yard, everyone sat and listened to monk Danh Lung’s Dharma talk for about an hour.

The Dharma talk talked about the traditional meaning of the moon worship festival, expressing gratitude to heaven and earth and wishing everyone good health, good weather, and a prosperous life.

Buddhists clasped their hands and respectfully listened to the dharma talk of the abbot of the temple.

At around 9 p.m., at the end of the moon worshiping rituals, people and Buddhists linger at the pagoda to offer offerings and pray to Buddha.

Chantarangsay was built in 1946, also known as Candaransi (Moonlight) and is the first Khmer temple in Saigon. The pagoda has an area of ​​4,500 m2, is a place of practice for monks of the Theravada school, and a place of cultural activities for the majority of the Khmer ethnic group in the South.

During the year, the pagoda organizes major holidays according to the Buddhist tradition and culture of the Khmer people such as Chol Chnam Thmay festival, Buddha’s birthday festival, Ok Om Bok festival, Sene Dolta festival .

Photo,Video: Internet