Tak Bat Devo Festival
Tak Bat Devo or ตักบาตรเทโว in Thai is the biggest festival of the year in Uthai Thani. It takes place the day after Wan Oak Phansa. Wat Sangkat Rattana Khiri is famous for the Tak Bat Devo festival. People from all over Thailand visit Uthai Thani for this festival and I think it is worth it!
I got there at 7:45 in the morning, but I knew the festivity was only going to start at 9 am. I was told I had to go early if I wanted a good spot to donate food to the monks. Although I didn’t want to donate food to the monks, because I wanted to take pictures of everything, I got there ealy anyway because I was affraid that I had to stand all the way in the back.
It was worth getting up early, as I had awesome spots right in front of the stairs. The hour and 15 minutes waiting passed by very quickly as there were many people asking if they could take pictures with my husband and I. Every occasion is a good time to take pictures with the foreigners.
After 8:30 it was getting extremely crowded. I was extremely glad I was standing at the front. At 9 am the ceremony started with a Buddhist prayer. Little girls dressed in traditional clothing went up the stairs to welcome the monks who soon would descend.
Resembling the buddhist myth the monks descended from the stairs as the Lord Buddha did when he returned from his visit to his deceased mother in Tavatimsa Heaven. It was an amazing sight. Hundreds of monks descended one by one.
Legend goes that the villagers were delighted when the Buddha returned so they offered him food. This event was called ‘Tak Bat Devo Rohana’ which later was named Tak Bat Devo.
Once down the monks walked to the tables where people were standing in line to offer the monks food. Some people couldn’t wait and were trying to reach the alms bowls through the human fence of military personnel.
Hayden Del Rey and Tatum Berardi, two of our friends, have been standing in line in the sun since 7:45 to offer food to the monks. A lot of respect for those two foreigners to stand that long in the heat to be part of this Buddhist tradition. But as it is a breathtaking experience I think it was all worth it.
A little after 10 am most people left the site already. At 10:30 there was a parade starting at the bus station, so that was where I was heading next. There were not many people there. Probably because it was very hot and there was so little shade at the busstation. And to me it seemed like most people cared more about the decorated stands with the elephant tooth display than for the parade. For me it is an error in my head to support that, but for them it is just part of the tradition.
Display of elephant tusks
The parade was divided in districts. Every district was represented with beautifully dressed people in traditional clothing holding the a banner with the district name. Some districts played music, some had a beautifully decorated wagon, some danced, and so on. There were elder people and very young children attending the parade. The youngest in traditional clothing were so cute you’d almost wipe away a tear.
Our friends Hayden and Tatum were a bit late to join us at the bus station. Most of the parade had already passed us when they wanted to come over. They found a place near the finish, which was at the roundabout with 5 exits.
My husband and I joined them after the parade had completely passed us at the bus station so we ended up seeing the parade almost twice. I’m glad I did go to the bus station though because I had the feeling that the participants were better at the start. I think they had a hard time performing in the sun for such a long time.
It was a nice parade, but for me the highlight of the day was of course the morning ceremony. It was very impressive! If you are in Thailand during Tak Bat Devo and you want to experience a real Buddhist ceremony accessible for everybody, you should really come to Uthai Thani. It is a great life experience!