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. 

At that time, the Buddha noticed that the monks’ robes were worn down so he allowed them to receive new robes offered by the laypeople. So, one month after the rainy season retreat (called vassa), monks in each temple are allowed to receive a new robe offered to them.

Even now, over 2500 years later, this is still a tradition in Buddhist countries and wherever there is a Buddhist sangha. The laypeople 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, the Buddhist laypeople travel to various temples in order to be a part of the Kathina. 

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 offerings of robes, but not the Kathina robe.

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, most of the temples choose to celebrate it on the weekend 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 assist 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 up stalls where they sell various goods. Selling second hand clothes has become popular in the past few years.

The income earned helps maintain the temple throughout the year.