How to Give Alms
The biggest event of the year (for GVI Laos) is just around the corner! For 5 days in country GVI Laos volunteers will wake up at 5am to participate in the local tradition of almsgiving. This ceremony is an integral part of Lao culture and lifestyle. Why are we doing this you ask? Our goal is to raise US$4000 to be able to continue providing sponsorships, educational, medical and general support for Lao students.
In Luang Prabang, the former royal capital of Laos, the ancient Buddhist tradition of Tak Bat, the morning alms round, is practised each day at dawn. Emerging silently from the town’s 35 temples, hundreds of barefoot monks in orange robes walk in single file through the streets to collect food from the local people. In the early morning mist, the lay community – men, women and children – kneel or sit with bowls of sticky rice to await the monks to whom they will offer it, an act performed in serenity and prayer. By giving, they earn merit and blessings, participating in a living ritual that is practised throughout the country. In order to participate it is important to understand the Do’s and Don’ts of almsgiving, so for all those participating and supporting us in this challenge make sure you keep reading!
- Know how many monks and novices will walk by and have 1 item of food per person
- Women must wear a sihn (traditional Lao skirt) and a top that covers the shoulders and chest along with a scarf that drapes over the left shoulder
- Men must wear trousers and a nice top that covers shoulders along with a scarf draped across the left shoulder
- Take off your shoes before the monks and novices walk by
- Women must kneel (bring a towel to place on the sidewalk)
- Men may stand but all people should give the monks and novices enough room to pass by on the sidewalk
- Remain quiet throughout the whole procession
- Do not look up at the monks and novices while they walk by. They are silent and meditating.
- Never place your alms food on the ground. If a piece of food falls, put it behind you and do not give it away
- Never touch an alms bowl
- Keep a calm heart and happy mind whilst participating in this ritual!
We can’t wait to get started! For all those who would like to support the cause or find out more check out our team page at https://www.justgiving.com/Gvi-Laos-Staff
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