Category: Pilgrimage

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World | Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:11pm GMT

Rescue workers carry the body of a Muslim pilgrim after a stampede at Mina, outside the holy Muslim city of Mecca, in this September 24, 2015 file photo.


The deadly crush that occurred at the haj near Mecca last month killed at least 2,070 people, nearly triple the number accounted for in a death toll maintained by Saudi authorities, a Reuters tally indicated on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the disaster. Safety during the pilgrimage is a politically sensitive issue for the kingdom’s ruling Al Saud dynasty, which presents itself as the guardian of Islam and custodian of its holiest sites in Mecca and Medina.

The figure, based on information provided by the state and religious authorities and local media reports in the home countries of the victims, would make it the worst such catastrophe to befall the annual pilgrimage since 1,400 people were crushed to death in a tunnel in 1990.

Saudi officials have stood by their official counts of 769 dead and 934 injured, which have not been updated since two days after the crush. The healthy ministry has said any discrepancies in death tolls may stem from countries counting pilgrims who had died of natural causes.


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Rungroj Yongrit / EPA

Thousands of Thai Buddhist monks chant during a lantern lighting to celebrate Makha Bucha day at Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 25, 2013.


Royal Thai Consulate General , Vancouver

It commemorates two separate events that occurred on the same date 45 years apart, during the Buddha’s lifetime 2,500 years ago. The first event was the coming together of 1,250 monks from all locations and directions, to meet and be ordained by the Buddha. This event occurred seven months after the Buddha began his teaching. The second event, which occurred 45 years later, was the Buddha delivering his teachings shortly before his death. Both of these events occurred on the day of the full moon of the third lunar month, a month known in the Buddhist Pali language as ‘Makha’. The ‘Bucha’, also a Pali word, means to venerate or to honor. Thus, Makha Bucha Day is for the veneration of Buddha and his teachings on the full moon day of the third lunar month.

Makha Bucha Day represents a great deal in terms of the development of Buddhism in Thailand. It is a highly ceremonial event and in Thailand it’s an event that was only recently revived as part of Thai Buddhist tradition. The Supreme Patriarch of the Marble Temple in Bangkok, Kittsobhana Mahathera, did this in 1957. Before 1957, the full moon day of the third lunar month was celebrated as a Buddhist Holy Day. Because of local ceremonies that occupied this day in different parts of the country, the Makha Bucha ceremonies today take on the different flavors of the various locales.

At this time in the evolution of Buddhism and Buddhist principles in Thailand, it is important to understand how the majority of Thai people view Buddha and the Buddhist philosophy.

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World News  :  Global Community – Religion – Pilgrimage

Nigeria angered by Saudi Hajj deportation

Nigeria angered by Saudi Hajj deportation

Some 95 000 Nigerian Muslims are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage later this month, along with some 3 million other pilgrims from around the world.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Nigerian authorities have displayed their anger at the deportation of more women by Saudi Arabian authorities, as they arrived in the Kingdom to travel to Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The latest round of deportations from Saudi Arabia had seen 43 more being deported, for not having a male escort or chaperon – a requirement for the performance of the Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj.

Last week, Nigeria moved to suspend all Hajj flights bound for Saudi Arabia, after more than 1000 women were denied entry into the Kingdom, detained and then deported back to Nigeria.

However, flights to Jeddah and Medina resumed on Sunday, after Nigerian officials said that they had solved most of the administrative problems.

According to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, more male escorts will be accompanying female pilgrims on the same flights.

Previously there were agreements made between the Saudi Hajj Ministry and Hajj officials from Nigeria, whereby
Saudi officials would allow female pilgrims entry, despite being alone or not carrying their husband’s names – which is common in the West African country.

Nigerian Hajj authorities and government officials have formally launched a complaint with the Saudi government about this issue, in the capital Riyadh.

Some 95 000 Nigerian Muslims are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage later this month, along with some 3 million other pilgrims from around the world.