(Feature) – About 300,000 people visited Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon on Thursday, the full moon day of the Second Waso, an important Buddhist holy day.
|People tour Shwedagon Pagoda on Full Moon Day. The pagoda is renown for its display of gold and jewels embedded in the massive stupa's spire. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima|
On an ordinary day, the number of visitors ranges from 25,000 to 30,000, said Win Kyaing, office chief of the board of trustees of Shwedagon Pagoda.
At 6:30 a.m. on full moon day, religious organizations offered “golden (Waso) robes” to Buddha images and people circulated through the pagoda area, said Win Kyaing.
“Religious and social organizations gave charity feasts and donated bottles of drinking water and some groups recited Buddhist verses,” he said.
The number of foreign visitors was also larger, he sid. At 1 p.m., a Buddhist Abbot delivered a talk at the pagoda. Also, the board of trustees presided over a Dhammacakka Day [full moon day] ceremony and held a formal religious talk at the pagoda.
There is a special religious significance to full moon days because of certain important events associated with the life of Lord Buddha that took place on full moon days, according to Buddhist tradition.
Buddhist Festivals are always joyful occasions. Typically on a Buddhist holiday day, lay people will go a local temple or monastery and offer food to the monks or listen to a Dharma talk. Some people will take the Five Buddhist Precepts on that day.
In the afternoon, they may distribute food or money to the poor to make merit and join in a ceremony of circumambulations of a stupa three time as a sign of respect to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. The day may conclude with evening chanting of the Buddha's teachings and meditation.