Kathina Day

Rooted in ancient tradition yet deeply relevant to modern times, Kathina Day marks the culmination of the rainy season retreat (vassa) for Theravada Buddhist monks and the opportunity for lay practitioners to engage in acts of merit and support for the monastic community. Let’s delve into the significance and customs surrounding this auspicious day.

Kathina, derived from the Pali word “kaṭhina,” refers to a wooden frame traditionally used for weaving robes. According to Buddhist scriptures, after the Buddha’s enlightenment, his disciples would spend the rainy season retreat in meditation and study. Once the retreat ended, they would set out to make new robes for the monks. This act of communal offering symbolized support for the monastic community and allowed lay followers to accumulate merit.

At Buddhist Maha Vihara

Event Details

Kathina Day typically occurs in October or November, depending on the lunar calendar. On the day of Kathina, devotees gather at the temple before dawn, eager to participate in the day’s rituals. As the first light of dawn breaks the darkness, the atmosphere is imbued with a sense of reverence. Monks clad in saffron robes lead the congregation in chanting, setting the tone for the day’s proceedings.

Central to the Kathina ceremony is the offering of Kathina robes to the Sangha, or community of monks. The Kathina robe holds particular significance as it is traditionally made from a single piece of cloth, reflecting simplicity and unity. 

Lay followers spend the day preparing the robe, weaving it with care and devotion. This act of craftsmanship becomes an expression of reverence and gratitude towards the monks who uphold the teachings of the Buddha.

In addition to the Kathina robe, devotees offer various requisites such as food, medicine, and other essentials to support the monastic community. These offerings symbolize the spirit of generosity (Dāna) and foster a sense of shared responsibility within the Buddhist community.