Kathina (Kahtain) Festival at Nanttharpu Village Tract
The Annual Kahtain Festival was celebrated on 26 and 27 of October in Nanttharpu village tract. The heart of this festival is donating robes and other offerings to monks. There is no restrictions when robes should be offered; however, after long months of rainy season, monks were in need of new robes. Therefore, Kahtein festivals are held usually at the end mark of rainy season to offer at the most needed time.
Days before the festival, everyone in the village tract was eager to celebrate it. Not just the local community, M&A OSB staff were also busy with raising donations within staff from companies within MPRL E&P Group of Companies. It is a custom of Myanmar community that people staying in the same area or working in a same office or having the same profession making donations together and sharing the merits. Staffs of MPRL E&P GOCs were no exception. Various kinds of offerings were collected and these were hung elegantly on a Padetha tree located in Htee Hta Resort, Nanttharpu.
There is a belief among Buddhist society that in the beginning of the world when humans were pure of heart, they had a Padetha tree that bore everything we could need. But it can only be used for the day and no more. However, humans are human, and they started taking more than they needed for the day. They started arguments about stocking things and had fights and at the end, the tree was destroyed. Present day’s Padetha trees resemble these ancient trees by hanging all kinds of goods on the wooden structure.
In the early morning of 26, this Padetha tree together with other trees from the village tract were carried around the village attended by music. All the participants wore nice dresses and marched alongside of the trees. It was the grand moment of this festival and some were even dancing with the music. People came out of their house to look at the dances and Padetha trees and some were making last minute donations by hanging additional offerings onto the trees. In the end, trees were delivered to the Aung Thuka Monastery where the Kahtein robe offering ceremony was held.
The offering ceremony was on the next day. In the beginning, all the participants took the five precepts from the monk and listened to the chanting of parittas by the monks. Afterwards, Kahtein robes and other offerings were donated to the monks. Then, the participants listened to the sermon of the monk and shared merit for the donation. Finally, lunch was offered to the monks as well as to the guests.
In the afternoon, the monks were summoned in the “thein”, Buddhist ordination hall, to be re-ordained while guests were waiting outside. When they came out from the hall, donations were offered again because it is believed that monks are having their purest precepts at that moment. It is also the best time for donations and more merit can be gained. Afterwards, everyone went home and back to their everyday lives and this was the end of the celebration. However, Nanttharpu’s Kahtain will remain in conversations among local community for months.