Large candle sets off fire in ancient pagoda

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Parts of the interior of a 700-year-old pagoda in Soc Trang Province's My Xuyen District were damaged in a fire on Monday.

The accident took place in the main hall of the Trasathkong Pagoda also known as the Tac Gong Pagoda, the oldest one of its kind in the province, at around 3 a.m. after a burning 40-kilogram candle fell on a veil covering the altar.

There were two monks sleeping inside the hall when the fire broke out, according to monk Thach Sach, head of the pagoda.

The fire was fought immediately, but it still destroyed part of worshipping utensils, including the veil, candles and incense stored as offerings for the coming Bonn Chaul Vosa festival of the Khmer people. Hundred-year-old patterns and statues were blackened by soot.

Previously, the main hall of the Doi (bat) Pagoda, the province's most famous pagoda, burned down in a fire in July, 2007, also due to the burning of candles during the festival.

The Khmer people celebrate the Bonn Chaul Vosa festival from the 15th day of the sixth lunar month (called Asat month by Khmer people) to the 15th day of the ninth lunar month, to pray for peace, prosperity and good harvests.

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