With the time zone changes, we were both wide awake at 4:30 AM the next morning. What better time than to check out the Buddhist monks doing their morning alms run which starts at 5:30 AM. Buddhist monks are not allowed to buy or grow their own food. They live off of the offerings of the faithful who believe they will earn merit and good graces in the after life by feeding the monks.
The faithful put sticky rice into the bowls that each monk carries. The faithful must stay lower than the monks and avoid eye contact during the alms run. Women are NEVER EVER allowed to touch a monk. Businesses and individuals also drop off food items at the various monasteries. Over 200 monks process in groups as they come out from various monasteries.
Luang Prabang is the spiritual center of Theravada Buddhism in Laos. There are many monasteries. There are monks who are career monks for their entire lives but Laotian men do 1 month stints as monks at least twice in their lives to earn merit starting as early as age 10. They live in the monasteries under the guidance of the career monks. This brings great merit for the men and merit for their proud families.
The career monks are celibate and function as spiritual writers and counsellors and officiate at ceremonial functions. Unlike Christians, there are no church (temple) services but the faithful go to the temples whenever to pray and contemplate.
On a lighter, less informative note, Laos has always had a midnight curfew. All citizens must be in their houses by midnight. All restaurants/bars/stores close by 11:30 PM so employees can get home.
Now it was 6AM and breakfast isn’t served until 7:30. The weather is lovely before sun up. Everyone is out and about. We walked for about a mile and stumbled across the Morning Market. The market is along a narrow lane and its side arteries. This market is a food market for the locals not a tourist market. Enjoy the photos!
With no refrigeration until about 10 years ago (now every home has refrigerators) Lao’s have the tradition of shopping daily for FRESH meats and produce. Chickens and some fish are still alive. Ya, there are flies everywhere but cooking takes care of that. Lao’s don’t do sushi.