Fog in the early morning and moisture dripping off the village home’s tin roof heralds in the arrival of the Fall/Harvest Season (October-November). This season is marked by the Thai Buddhist observances of Boon Khao Sah, Oh Pensa and Boon Katin. These are followed by the rice harvest (Giao Khao).
Boon Khao Sah is the Buddhist observance of what could be called “spirits of the dead.” At this time, all those who have gone before are remembered and prayers made on their behalf. My wife Thip had me write down everyone in my family, friends and influential people in my life who are no longer alive. At age 67, I came up with a list of about 150 people. This list was later burned at our temple.
Oh Pensa (or Ohpensa) marks the end of the three-month-long “Buddhist Lent” (Vassa) and is a major Buddhist observance, with ceremonies in the morning, evening (notable for walking around the wat three times, with burning candles) and morning of the next day. I used to make all three, but now attend just on the first morning. Since Oh Pensa falls on the October full moon, I like to go to Bann Nah and watch the full moon rise. Due to the air cooling, the night time skies are much clearer than they are during the Monsoon Season. An added bonus is that surrounding temples in the area let off “sky lanterns,” so it’s quite a show out there on this particular night of the year: the rising moon with sky lanterns drifting across the night sky.