During the time when the Lord Buddha was still alive, after the retreat in one place during the rainy season, the monks would go to pay respect to him.
The Buddha noticed that their robes were worn down so he allowed them to receive new robes offered by the laypeople. So one month after the rain retreat, monks in each temple can receive a robe as offered to them by the laypeople.
Now, this has become a tradition in Buddhist countries. The lay people usually organize a festive ceremony, not only offering the robe but also other activities. This ceremony is called Kathina.
Each temple can have only one Kathina a year.
This one month after the vassa (rains retreat) the Buddhist laypeople are very busy travelling to various temples to be able to be part of the offering.
Each temple, however, can receive the robe only once. There may be other offerings of robes, but the Kathina robe is only one and that one usually goes to the abbot/abbess, as he/she has the responsibility to give the Dhamma talk at this festive event. The monks (bhikkhunis) in the temple also receive offering of robes equally.
For information on when Songdhammakalyani Monastery will hold the Kathina, please consult the events calendar under News and Upcoming Events. Even though the period to offer Kathina is one month, but most of the temples would choose the weekends to allow people to attend. So the four weekends after the vassa are normally busy weekends for monastics.
Monastics, too, are quite busy the month prior to the Kathina ceremony preparing various buildings in the temple to welcome the large crowd of people on Kathina Day.
The laypeople will be participating in arranging various stalls to offer different kinds of food to people who attend the ceremony. Some also raise funds to support the temple by setting stalls to sell various goods. Selling second hand clothes have been popular for the past few years.
They all make sure that the income will be another kind of offering to maintain the temple throughout the year.
For information on when Songdhammakalyani Monastery will hold the next Kathina, please consult the events calendar under News and Upcoming Events.