This ceremony takes place every year in Hat Yai, when 10,000 monks from 10 Asian countries come to visit to collect Alms from people and practice Buddhism. It was the first time in Hat Yai (that I have experienced) commentary not only in Thai but English and Malay too, emphasising what an international event this was.
It was held on Sunday 18th August on Sai 3 road in the centre of Hat Yai, which was closed to traffic all morning. It is advertised as starting at 6am, but we got there at about 7am and the procession of Monks start walking down the lines around 8am. However if you go next year, go early and you’ll get a good spot near the front. We were lucky and were able to sit on the floor very close to the procession.
Photos above taken from http://www.dmc.tv
The reason for giving alms is for merit making in the Buddhist religion. (I’m not an expert, but I believe this allows for better karma in future lives.)
[Below is adapted from http://www.dmc.tv/pages/en_news/morning-alms-round-Hat-Yai-2013.html]
Here are the rules to follow;
- Wear white, or at least a white shirt. You will look stupid and stand out if you don’t, everyone is in white, except the Monks in orange.
- Offer only dried food and make sure packs of rice are sealed.
- Don’t donate money straight to the Monk, but give it in at the stations around, where it can be kept safe.
- Be respectful, let the people in front of you offer their alms first, then move back to let others through once you have placed your Alm in the Monks bowl.
- Have happy thoughts when giving the Alms.
The reasons people offer Alms to the Monks;
- You will live a long life with nice skin and be happy and healthy.
- You will be rich and prosperous.
- You will be reborn into a Buddhist country in your next life.
- You will attain Dhamma easily.
I’m not Buddhist so I went to see lots of Monks and be part of the traditions and do my good deed of the day by offering Alms. It was funny, I was so interested in the Monks, as they walked along before the alms were offered I found myself taking many photos, and in some cases the Monks were just as intrigued with me, a farang (foreigner.) I saw 2 monks walking along taking photos of me too, one with an iphone and another on camera, but i think he was recording the crowd in general. I think the pictures explain more than words can but for me it was great to be part of something so nice, and worth getting up early for!
My photos; Rowenna, myself and Linda waiting for the Monks to arrive.
The start, all the Monks walking to line up!
Older Monks.. see he’s taking a photo of me!
The End; the Monks receiving the Alms, which the Cadet boys then rounded up and put into big trucks to help feed the poor.