The International Steam Pages
Once Upon a Full Moon, 2009
This is part of our second 2009 Burmese Odyssey. To read more about it which includes many non-steam items, please see Rob and Yuehong in the Golden Land 2009, Part 2.
We have a standing invitation to come to Dakhondaing, this time the event had been chosen carefully. 30 years ago, our host, Daw Ei Ma, had donated a small house in the compound of the local monastery for the use of visitors which she might otherwise use for extended periods of meditation. We were based here to observe the village's annual October Full Moon which celebrates both the end of the Buddhist Lent and the anticipated commencement of the harvest. What follows is a very small part of a very special day, simply there was so much to film that the still camera had to stay in the pocket most of the time.
Normally, the hundred or so monks go out before dawn to collect food, but today the food comes to them. Breakfast at 05.00 was anything but a spartan affair and afterwards many villagers (who had prepared it) also had their meal. Some time later, the whole monastery, together with a number of 'guest monks' went out into the village. Here some of the leading members of the community are addressed before the main business starts:
Led by the oldest monk, they slowly pass by villagers lined up behind a temporary fence where each monk will collect numerous small gifts. Most of them have 'helpers' who will pour the gifts into rice sacks for later collation.
About 500 metres later at the main gate to the village, the 'Santa Claus' marathon ends.
Before passing through each monk is given a 'lucky number' slip chosen at random. A select few will win a money tree which will be taken back to their monastery as a donation. This year it was an away winner from near Mudon, his supporters are celebrating a cool Kyat 175, 000 (USD 170):
After a short break it is time for the assembled visitors to be addressed by the 'first monk' (abbot), after which they will donate new robes to the monks:
:After which the monks are treated to a sumptuous feast. Once they disappear, we and the chief donors get the second serving and finally the ordinary villagers get their turn:
Here we are for a group photograph in the 'guest house'.
An amazing opportunity which we should be able to share with you when weather permitting we have the material for a full DVD...
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson