| Layton, United States
- They came with baskets of fruit, bottles of water, wallets of money
and hope for a prosperous New Year.
They prayed for loved ones who had
died in the past year and the living who remain among them, wishing
for good luck to embrace them during 2005.
And, members of the Thai Buddhist
Temple at 644 E. Gordon Ave., also collected piles of cash and other
goods to assist the victims of the Dec. 26 tsunamis that so far
have claimed more than 123,000 victims in 11 countries.
Saturday's New Year's ceremony at
the Layton temple is an annual event to pay homage to Buddhist tradition
This year's festivities, however,
took on new significance as members gave what they could to help
victims of one of the most devastating natural disasters to strike
southern Asia and Africa.
"It's very, very terrible,"
said Narong Saipant, a member of the temple's board of directors.
"We are trying to help whatever way we can, even if it is a
One member's wife has family in Phuket,
Thailand, where thousands perished as a result of the powerful waves
hitting the resort area, but all of her relatives were reported
While Saturday's event was marked
by spirituality, prayers and respect for the Buddhist way, it also
featured the warmth of the people who had come to celebrate and
an unabashed recognition that a New Year gives rise to new possibilities.
With that, members dined on a spread
of food prepared and brought for festivities after the religious
Dozens of ornately knotted strings
hung from the ceiling waiting for members to tug. The tug releases
the knot as well as good luck and prosperity for the year and also
protects participants from the bad in the world.
Afterward, the string can be worn
as a bracelet during the year to keep that luck close.
Saipant said donations collected at the temple for the tsunamis'
victims will be forwarded to the Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C.
The temple will serve as a collection
point for any resident who wants to help victims of the disaster
and is open every day.
With a smile, Saipant said anyone
is welcome to come to the temple at any time, if just simply to
pray. [DESERET MORNING NEWS]