August 02, 2012 00:00 By PHOOWADON DUANGMEE THE NATION
Sri Lankan traditions come to Ayutthaya to mark the beginning of Buddhist lent
A replica of Buddha Tooth Relic from Kandy together with the “Esala Perahera” procession of the tooth, a traditional masked dance and a series of Sri Lankan cultural shows will help Buddhists in Ayutthaya province celebrate khao pansa – the beginning of the Buddhist Lent.
Running until Saturday at the former provincial hall, the three-day event demonstrates the great respect between the Thais and Sri Lankans, a relationship that dates back to the arrival of the very first Sri Lankan Buddhists in the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th century.
The replica of the Buddha Tooth Relic represents Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic.
The tooth is said to have been retrieved from the flames of the Buddha’s funeral pyre in 543 BC, and travelled into Sri Lanka during the fourth century, hidden in the hair of a princess. It is kept in Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, in Kandy. Every Wednesday, there is a symbolic bathing of the relic with nanumura mangallayaan, an herbal preparation made from scented water and fragrant flowers. This holy water is believed to contain healing powers.
You don’t have to be a devout Buddhist to enjoy the festival, which will have a colourful procession and rarely-seen Sri Lankan classical dance.
On show are various important historical documents related to the “Siam Nikaya” and Phra Upali Maha Thera, the head of the religious diplomats sent by King Borommakot of the Ayutthaya Kingdom to re-establish Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
Other activities include live music, puppet shows and the sale of handicrafts.
Visitors can also enjoy numerous booths selling souvenirs and famous products including world-famous Ceylon tea.