Myanmar is one of the Southeast Asian countries that sees the most devotion to Buddhism. Ceremonies of ordination, novice-hood for men and boys and ear piercing for girls are traditional events linked with Buddhism.
Buddhist families regard sons as precious offspring, though there is not too much discrimination against girls. Traditionally, all boys will be ordained as novices for at least a few days. Adult men who enter their 20s should be ordained into the monkhood.
Photojournalist Hong Sar of Mizzima Media took a photo record of the ceremonies of ordination, novice-hood and ear piercing in the village of Daik Oo Township, Bago Region.
The major livelihood of the village of 300 houses is agriculture. After the harvest season, some families hold novitiation ceremonies. However, some poor families cannot afford to do so.
In such circumstances, some wealthy families sponsor the poor families’ novitiation ceremonies, held over seven days. These organizers are referred to as “donor families.”
Some boys and girls enter the monkhood and nun-hood permanently. Even the temporary joining of offspring to religious life is regarded by parents as the settling of a parental debt. For this, the parents will be delighted, saying Sadu [well done], with hope that this will move them closer to Nirvana, the ultimate goal of Buddhists.
Photos: Hong Sar/Mizzima