Did You Know? – The Alm Giving Ceremony in Laos
In Asia, traditions form the pattern of local life and some rules must be respected in order to pay respect to ancestors, gods and believes and most importantly to preserve their cultures. In Laos, we can assist to the Alms Giving Ceremony, a daily traditional moment, very important, that everyone know. Nevertheless, some rules should be applied by all observers and givers, that they are Laotians or travelers for a responsible tourism.
Discover here our guideline for this impressive spiritual experience.
All monks leave their temples to walk silently and barefoot around the city. Lao people are waiting for them on the streets to make offerings (generally sticky rice and other simple food). They will then enjoy this food and give the excess to underprivileged people.
Monks can’t earn money and survive only with these offerings. It’s a very important part of Lao culture, that’s why we need to respect different rules to do not disrupt the ceremony
WHERE THE ALMS GIVING CEREMONY IS HELD
Luang Prabang, Laos, alms-giving ceremony held in the 35 temples of the city. One of the best venues to witness the ceremony of alms is the Wat Mai temple, due to its location in the historic centre, the street that passes the ceremony is also wide and Wat Mai is one of the most popular and venerable Luang Prabang’s temples.
Alms-giving ceremony begins with the exit of monks from the Temple Wat Mai, located on the street Sisavangvong road, surrounding Wat Mai through the surrounding streets and later the monks end the ceremony once again returning to the temple Wat Mai.
WHAT TIME THE ALMS GIVING CEREMONY IS HELD
Luang Prabang alms-giving ceremony takes place daily at 6:00 in the morning, lasting approximately 15 minutes. The monks are very punctual and to show respect.
ALMS GIVING CEREMONY GUIDE
Shoulders, chest and legs covered.
Take off shoes and socks-feet should be tucked underneath.
Stay totally silent.
Women should keep their head lower.
Never touch or talk with monks, even when making offerings.
Do it only if it’s meaningful for you to keep this ceremony pure and unharmed.
To buy food, go earlier on markets or organize it with your hotel. Stallholders in the streets propose also a package food and mat with unreasonable price.
Never bargain for these products as it’s a total lack of respect for monks.