Making merit online in Thailand

Thais make merit online to ward off COVID-19Image adapted from: วัดสว่างอารมณ์ จ.นครปฐม

During Songkran, Thai people traditionally visit temples to make merit for ancestors or relatives who have since passed on. Sadly, festivities have been cancelled all across Thailand due to the spread of COVID-19, with temples closing their doors to curb the spread of the virus.

Wat Sawang Arrom, a temple in Nakhon Pathom now invites people to make merit to their loved ones online – and even spread the compassionate and make merit to “Mr. and Mrs. COVID-19” too. 

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Burning the names of the dead for a happy afterlife

Thai temple allows people to make merit online
Image credit: วัดสว่างอารมณ์ จ.นครปฐม

Songkran season sees families coming together at temples to make merit, where one writes the names of their dead relatives for monks to bless and burn during their prayers.

Thais believe that doing so will send their merits to the dead, which will allow them to have a happy afterlife.

The monks at Wat Sawang Arrom did not want people gathering in large groups, but still noted that many families still wished to make merits.

So, the monks came up with the idea to make merit online. On 19th April 2020, the temple allowed people to send in the names of their ancestors to their Facebook page, วัดสว่างอารมณ์ จ.นครปฐม

Thais make merit online to ward off COVID-19
Mr. Covid 19 and Mrs. Covid 19
Image credit: วัดสว่างอารมณ์ จ.นครปฐม

Many locals sent in names, and funnily, the monks also included the names “Mr. and Mrs. COVID-19” in the coffin that was prepared to contain all the names.

make merit online in Thailand
Image credit: วัดสว่างอารมณ์ จ.นครปฐม

Before burning the coffin, the monk prayed for all the souls and also offered savoury treats and dessert dishes for them. 

Staying strong in difficult times

Thais make merit online to ward off COVID-19
Image credit: วัดสว่างอารมณ์ จ.นครปฐม

After the ceremony, they shared pictures of the ceremony on Facebook to ensure people that everyone’s merits were made.

As reported on Khaosod, the monks also added that adding in Mr & Mrs. COVID-19 was done to ward off the virus.

The temple’s online merit making ceremony proves that we can adapt our lifestyles even in times like this. Let’s hope the virus “burns away” and subsides really soon!

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