What a perfect place to relax after a long ‘wild trail’ where we can take part in an ancient Buddhist ceremony. I’m talking about the ‘Alms Giving Ceremony’ in Luang Prabang.
This UNESCO World Heritage City sees over 200 Buddhist monks arriving as the sun rises in order to gather their daily meal.
Locals wake up early to prepare food for the monks, and then line the streets and wait quietly for their turn to give their gifts. This is a tradition that dates back to the 14th century and has become an important and sacred daily ritual for locals.
Despite its ancient and sacred beginnings, visitors are welcomed to take part in the daily ceremony.
It’s so important for us to be respectful if we want to take part in any local ceremony that we encounter.
We want to leave the locals with a good impression of visitors and keep the door open for others in the future.
The best way to stay respectful is to watch what the locals do. If they aren’t talking, neither should we. If they’re kneeling down, we should too. Take notice of their clothing. . . . . are they dressed for the occasion? If so, then we should be too.
At the local markets, you can find simple food, fruit or sugary snacks to offer to the monks. Pay the asking price, as bartering for the offerings can be seen as disrespectful.
Taking pictures is fine,
- but the same rules apply for respect.
- Don’t use your flash. Don’t get in the way of the monks or the people giving alms. Try to be the fly on the wall!
Overall, this is a lovely cultural experience that we can all take part in. Enjoy it as you build up your energy for the next ride!