Boon Katin or boun katin follows each year’s end of Buddhist Lent (Vassa), shortly after Ohpensa (aka Wan Ok Phansa). Ceremonially, it is the time when new robes are offered to local or favored monks, but more importantly is a time of general gift giving to monks and temples. It is our wat’s major time of fund-raising and an opportunity for people to increase their karma and boon by giving.
My wife’s father Khun Paw had let it be known, this year, that he intended to make a very big donation to the temple, with ceremonies and socializing at the family house as well as at the wat. Everyone in the family was involved with this, which included having monks give a special ceremony at the family house and feeding nearly 300 family and friends before and afterwards. As my wife (and I) was one of the major funders of the Khun Paw’s Boon Katin ceremony/party, Thip stipulated that there would be no drinking of alcohol. This would have driven the cost up astronomically.
Boon Katin, in many ways, is a bigger observance in our village and at our local temples than even Khaopensa or Ohpensa. It is celebrated in slightly different ways throughout Thailand and Laos. By the end of the several days-long ceremonies, our temple had raised well over $30,000 USD and Khun Paw had donated around a tenth of that amount. I was happy for him, but a little uneasy about it. I knew he no longer had anymore extra money. This means that if family members needed cash for something unexpected or unplanned for, they will now go to my wife for help.