"The land dries up in Tagu but all is parched in Kason". That is the saying in Myanmar as the sun scorch the countryside with its blazing heat. The village ponds are dry and the rivers are low. But soon there will be a light sprinkling of rains. Not the heavy downpours of the monsoonal months but enough to let the mango buds make their appearance. They are the mango showers, alerting the farmers to get ready for the new planting season and giving the cityfolks the promise of the taste of the sweet tasting exotic mango fruits.
But the Myanmar month of Kason ( May) is also one of the most important months in Myanmar Buddhist chronology.
It is associated with the FOUR GREAT HAPPENINGS in Lord Gautama Buddha's Life.
The first is that He received the prophesy that He will become Lord Buddha in his future life.
The second is that He was born on the Fullmoon Day of Kason
The third is that He attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree(Ficus religiosa) on this day.
The fourth is that He "entered Nirvana (died)" on this day.
And in all the Buddhist countries of South East Asia this month is regarded as one of the most auspicious month in the Buddhist calendar.
In Myanmar this Fullmoon Day of Kason(May) is celebrated all over the country. The most common celebration is to water the Bodhi tree inside the precincts of pagodas and monasteries. As we believe that Lord Gautama Buddha attained his Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree people regard these trees as symbolic icons of worship. They gather in procession and bring water to be poured on the roots so that the tree should survive the hot summer heat.
The grand celebration of the Kason Holy Day is elaborately celebrated at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. The Pagoda Trustees organizes an official ceremony at the main Bodhi tree on the South East corner of the pagoda's platform. Youths dressed as mythical Celestial Beings, some in the costumes of Sakra, the King of the Celestials, others as Brahmas(other inhabitants of the Celestial Abode), garudas(mythical birds) and dragons lead the procession of devotees. The devotees, all dressed in sombre dark brown sarongs and white shirts and blouses, each with a pot of cooling water in their hands approach the Bodhi tree and pour water on it. This procession, which will consist of members of the various charitable and voluntary religious associations associated with the Shwedagon Pagoda, then circle the platform chanting Buddhist mantra and prayers and then will congregate back at the Chan Tha Gyi Tazaung (the big pavilion on the north-west corner of the pagoda) where the venerable member-monks of the pagoda's advisory group are offered "soon", or lunch. The ceremony will end with the sounds of "Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu, a joyous exaltation by all the assembled guests to let all creatures in the universe to hear and rejoice in this holy act.
Photos :Sonny Nyein