3/27 – This morning we rose at 5am to view the daily ritual of Tak Bat – giving alms to the monks at daybreak. Every day, the townspeople line the streets near the 33 temples where monks reside, and prepare to feed them sticky rice, crackers and little packets of food.
The townspeople remove their shoes, and sit so their heads are lower than the monks’ heads, out of respect. They dip the food with their hand, and do not make eye contact with the monks, who are meditating as they walk. The ritual is performed in silence. This is the only food the monks will eat today. Monks eat morning and noon, and then fast until the next morning.
As we were near another wat (temple), we peeked in. Prayer candles are lit in the shrines, and young monks are tending the grounds. A monk is having his photo taken – very unusual.
We spend the day relaxing in town, eating good food and taking in the sights.
In the late afternoon, we walked to Mount Phou si, the highest point in Luang Prabang. There are two set of steps, on opposite sides of the hill. We go up the steps facing the main street – up, up, and up some more!
You may purchase little birds in reed cages, and set them free at the top of the hill. This will give you merit for your next life. I don’t know what happens to the people who imprisoned the birds in the first place…
The steps down the back of the hill were rich with Buddha statues.