Midnight Food Offerings to the Monks (ตักบาตรเที่ยงคืน) also called Wednesday Full Moon Offerings in Northern Thai (ภาษาทางเหนือ เรียกว่า วันเป็งปุ๊ด).
On certain full moons, Buddhists can offer food to the monks at midnight. This is a tradition in Lanna and also in some parts of Issan. When the full moon falls on a Wednesday then there is a midnight alms at certain temples. In Chiang Mai this takes place on the Tuesday at midnight before the Wednesday full moon. In Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, and Lampang this happens on Wednesday midnight.
The offerings are not fresh food, but dried goods and kitchen supplies. Typical offerings include rice, sugar, canned foods, dried noodle, fish sauce, chili powder, candles and money.
Where to go for Midnight Food Offerings to the Monks
In Chiang Mai there is the temple Wat Uppacoot is famous for the Midnight Offerings, and is located on Thapae Road at the foot of the Nawarat Bridge. There are many stories about this temple and its namesake, a monk by the name of Uppacoot. One story says that there is someone with this name, who transforms himself into a monk and visits the temples only at this time of the midnight offerings. It is said that those who catch sight of this monk and makes an offering, will have a wish granted to them.
When are Full Moons on Wednesdays
In 2014, there is a full moon on a Wednesday on January 15 and October 8th. In 2015, there is a full moon on Wednesday, March 4 and November 25th. This means that in Chiang Mai, midnight food offerings are given on the Tuesday at midnight, but in Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Lampang these are on Wednesday at midnight.
There is some controversy about the midnight offerings as it contravenes the standard rules whereby monks are not to leave their quarters for alms until 5am.
Photos from วงเดือน หม่องน่าน used by permission.