About 95% of Thai people are Buddhists. It is part of their daily life. There are hundreds of temples dotted around the countryside. Early in the morning, the monks leave their temple in single file with an alms bowl. Buddhists stand by the side of the road to give food to the monks. They do this to make merit. The monks are not allowed to say thank you, but they do give a blessing.

Some Buddhists go to the temple every week on Wan Phra Day. These are Holy Days, though unlike the Christian “Sunday”, the day differs each month as it is set by the phases of the moon. Most people usually only go to the temple for Buddhist festivals, their birthdays and funerals. During festivals, Buddhists take part in a candlelight procession around the main temple and then go inside to listen to a sermon from a senior monk.

In rural areas, the temple is very much part of village life. Quite often there is a temple school and a number of the local boys would serve as Dek Wat, or temple boys. People often help out to keep the temple grounds clean. Once a year, they have a tradition to build sandcastles in the temple grounds. They bring their own sand to do this in order to replace all of the sand inadvertently taken out of the temple on the bottom of their shoes over the past year.

Art Work by Primary 5 and 6 students at Sriwittayapaknam School.