Kathin Ceremony at Wat Greensboro

Yesterday we had Thot Kathin or Kathin Ceremony at our local temple, Wat Greensboro of North Carolina.

Dork Champee, I’ve not seen one in a long time. The aroma is incredible and it’s one of the offering flowers.

In most Southeast Asia countries, where Buddhist monks live in one place for 3 months known as Punsa or Rain Retreat, and after the three months of Retreat observance, people have a very grand festival of offering food to the monks in various Wat (Temples), each Wat could only Thot Kathin once a year. At this same time, they prepare special yellow robes that are offered to the Sangha .

This special yellow robe offering is called the Kathin Offering Ceremony. It can be done only during the period from the end of the Rain Retreat to the first day of the Waning Moon of the 12th Lunar Month, which means only within 29 days after Ork Punsa.  There must be at least 5 monks for a Wat to Thot Kathin, and in the United States, it’s hard to have that many living in one Wat, but we have 6 monks at our Wat for the Kathin Ceremony. This year we have a Kathin Samakee, which means that it’s being hosted by many and not just one person, we had the Khmer, the Lao, and the Thais and raised over $10,000.

We’ve 2 American monks at our temple.

Food offering to the monks.

The money tree in this ceremony is called Thon Kathin, and as I’ve mentioned before that we could only do it once a year, but if you see the money tree in other occasions, it’s called Thon Phapa and can be done several times a year.

This is a very festive event, and we paraded around the temple ground carrying gifts to the monks.

Wat Greensboro have had some air time at NatSat TV and these ladies thought that I was from there, they were posting for pictures, but sorry ladies that I’m not with the TV, and only a blogger.

Gifts, and yellow robes for the monks.

This is the place that housed the urns, and we paraded around it 3 times.

Then we headed back to Wat.

They tossed monies up in the air, I think it’s for good luck and many raced to get it.

And my dad heading back to Wat bringing yellow robe as gift.

Pi Rooney selling Guoy Jub (noodle dish) for the temple.

One of my favorite desserts, Lod Chong Nam Ka Ti.

I bought several home.

Mae Ka Som Tum Annie wants her friends in California to see her, I hope they can find her here.

This one is Tum Mak Houng (spicy papaya salad) with padaek, very bold and spicy, delicious.


  1. Looks like a beautiful event! Thank you for your blog recommendation on self-censorship. I think it’ll help me a lot.

    I do have a question about this particular blog though….do you happen to know what the name of the mermaid creature at the top of your blog? I am very interested in Lao Mythical creatures…thanks

    • Darounie, she is Nang Ngerk, and there are other water creature’s flags hanging everywhere in the temple ground during Thot Kathin. Back in the olden days, the parade of Thot Kathin was by water, the boat used to carry the Kathin was the Lao long boat used in Boun Souang Heua (Lao long boat racing), but now since we’ve cars and roads, the transportation of choice for Kathin is no longer by boat, but we’re still showing our respect to the body of water (Jao Mae Kongka) by hanging the water creatures, you’d see this in front of the temple also.

      As for the blog, you’re welcome, I think if we stay true to ourselves, it shouldn’t matter what people think.

  2. Looks like a great celebration at the temple. 🙂

    I’ve never seen Dork Champee before, it’s an interesting looking flower. I love your photo of it and how they wrap them in biodegradable leaves too.

    • Cambree, it smells very much like Champa or Plumeria, I recalled when I was little in Thailand that many young ladies would place it behind their earlobe, or tide it to their hair to let it hang down next to their face, but that was a long time ago and I don’t know if they still do that or not.

  3. I would really appreciate your suggestions. My Husband and myself are going to attend not only our very first trip to a Buddhist temple but a Kathin Ceremony too. I would like to know what is proper to wear, what food is proper to bring, what kinds of gifts should we bring and what is expected of us. We have been studying Buddism on our own for about 1 year and when we found a temple 2 hrs away we visited during the week and the very gracious Monk there told us when to come back. I was not prepared on bowing to Buddha and how to respond to the Monk, pointing my feet and so on. I did feel welcome but also awkard because I didn’t want to offend. Any thoughts or suggestions would really be appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Pam, since you’re new at this, any kind of sitting position is acceptable except for pointing your feet to the monks, this is considered rude and disrespect, and be prepared to sit on the floor (when you get there you’ll see how other worshipers sit). The ceremony would normally start by 9:30 or 10Am, and most temple would have Almsgiving, and for this I would normally bring apples, bananas, dried snack like crackers, cooked rice (optional) or money ($1 bill), and have at least enough for 6 bowls. If you see the money tree at the temple, you’re welcome to hang your money there as well, as part of the offering, this will be donated to the temple, $1 bill or $5 bill, any amount is fine.

      As for food offering (meal) anything that you bring will be offered with others, monks are not choosy when it comes to meal, they’re grateful for anything that people offer, can be fried chickens or anything, bring enough for 7-8 small plates, eg 8 pieces fried chicken. You can give this to the people in the kitchen and they’ll help add this to the meal being offered, just tell them that it’s for the monks.

      The gift is the Kathrin ceremony parade(only holds once a year), anything that you can think of that the monks would need, such as toothpaste, toothbrush, flip flops (size 8 or 9), bath towels (light color or yellow preferred), and some temple would offer yellow monk ropes that you can purchase (donate) for the monks, I think it’s anywhere from $50 to $100 depending on the temple, this is optional, and you don’t have to purchase and can bring your own gifts.

      And thanks for your interest, please feel free to ask anything else.

  4. Is this Wat Lao?? I only see Khmer and Lao characters. Boon Kathin Sammakee. I can only read Lao a little bit 555. Are the Thais visiting this temple too? I think you can meet Noon next year because she is going to be in Grensboro too…

    • eerenoon, it’s more of a Khmer Wat, but many Lao and Thais go there, the Abbot of the Wat is Thai from Surin, so he speaks Khmer also. I can also read a little bit Lao, never attended Lao schooling, only Thai school when I was little. Will Noon be visiting her relative or attending school?

    • Eerenoon, Wat Greensboro Buddhist Center is located at 2715 Liberty Road, Greensboro, NC 27406 USA, Telephone: (336)272-6297. If you’re in the area, it’s not too hard to find.

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