Each year since the time of the Buddha, at the end of the three-month Rains Retreat, the lay communities near Theravada Buddhist monasteries have gathered to celebrate the completion of the retreat and offer to the monastic community gifts of cloth and supplies that will be useful for the coming year. The cloth is cut, sewn and dyed by the monks that same day to make a robe to offer to a member of the monastic Sangha. This 2,500-year-old tradition is still carried on here in the West, initiated by a lay supporter or group of supporters who request to organize the preparation and formal offerings. It's a significant and joyful occasion that's emblematic of the richness of the relationship between lay people and monastics, a relationship characterized by deep bonds of friendship and commitment to mutual support. All year round, the monastery functions solely on offerings from the lay community.