• Notes when participating in rituals in Laos

    Temples are ubiquitous in Laos and the majority of them are active religious organizations with a monastery, a large home of many monks, novices and nuns dedicated to religious life. And visiting these solemn places you must pay attention to the rituals in Laos so as not to make unfortunate mistakes.
    Coming to Laos - the land of Champa flowers, people can see the clear imprints of the Buddhist culture of Laos  on the life of the ethnic people here. Not only in the features of the ancient pagodas, not only in the golden shades of monks on the way of practice, but Buddhism was present in every breath of daily life, becoming a part. weak in the spiritual life of the people of Laos. 

    From architecture, art to painting, sculpture, from language, text to literature, poetry, from costumes, cuisine to religion, the festival has the mark of Buddhism. And nowhere, the mark of Buddhism is shown vividly, richly, colorful and clearly as in the daily life of the people of the Laotian tribes.
    Visiting a temple or Wat in Laos can be a beautiful, serene experience, but there are expectations that visitors should behave properly and respectfully. Be mindful of these facts to ensure a great visit.

    Notes when performing rituals in Laos 


    The right outfit

    Lao women visiting a temple will wear ankle length dresses and long sleeves. However, do not think that it is a negative way to cover the whole body, women should be covered up to the knees with capris or a long skirt and the shoulders and chest must be completely covered. Carry a shawl in your pocket so that you can take it out when needed. Men should wear at least knee-length pants or shorts and have at least one top t-shirt or a historic collared shirt.

    Pay the entrance fee

    Many temples have free admission to visitors or devotees, but some of the more popular temples may require an entrance fee. Please obey and respect the rules of each destination. This is Laos, so you can't see a camera or any strict gatekeepers. Maybe the ticket seller is sleeping or they go somewhere, but show your respect by honestly paying. The same goes for the toilets. Lao people are not standing there to collect your money, you should be self-centered and remember but these small sums of money add up to the way the temple continues to be opened and the bathroom is cleaned to serve you .

    Take your shoes off to the temple

    It's nice to walk around the temple grounds on your favorite sneakers, but if you're into a building, leave your shoes outside. Sometimes there is a shelf or place reserved for this, other times you can leave them on the steps leading into a temple or temple. In particular, when entering a ritual in Laos , you should also take off your hat to show respect. When going inside, move clockwise and don't step between someone when they are praying and Buddha.

    Turn feet away from Buddha

    In Laos, they consider the head to be the high part and the legs are the low part of a human being so the lowest part of the body, you should be careful not to point your feet at anyone, but especially the Buddha. If you are uncomfortable sitting in a kneeling position, you can release your hips to the side with knees bent and feet facing behind you. If this is too much to bear, then cross-legged sitting is acceptable for Westerners if you are careful in which direction you keep your feet.

    Do not eat or drink on the temple grounds


    many-year-olds-in-working-season-to-labor-4Eat or drink even if it is a snack, eat outside the shack


    Note, even if it is a snack, eat outside the temple door. Monks in Laos do not eat more than lunch. Most of the monks in the temples in the city eat two meals a day, one early in the morning and one at around 11 a.m. All eating monks are donated because Buddhist sutras forbid monks from growing, storing, cooking or picking up food.

    Talk to monks

    Many monks (Kubah) and newcomers living in monasteries are learning English and are happy to speak with you. Newcomers are boys who are studying the sutras and can be ordained for a short time or can study the dhamma temporarily to give merit to themselves and their families. When you meet them, let your palm press your thumb on your forehead, which is a ritual in Laos to pay homage. In particular, women should keep a respectful distance from the monks when talking to them or having certain interactions. Women are not allowed to touch their monks or their robes. They also may not give anything directly to the monk, except to place food in the monk's bowl during morning alms ceremonies. 

    Don't take pictures of people praying

    Photography outside of buildings in a temple complex is allowed. Remember that while you might consider it a tourist attraction, remember that the temple is a place of worship. Monks are not an artist or a performer so you can comfortably take the photos you think are the best, all your snapshots make them uncomfortable and any Buddhists in the temple come to pray or pay homage. Some temples have a policy of not using telephones and cameras inside the protected areas. It is not polite to take pictures of prayers without their permission.

    Pray or make suggestions

    The streets outside many temples have stalls selling incense, candles and folded palm leaves, and ceremonies. It's good, and even encouraged to buy these items for the ritual. If you take a candle or light incense from the temple, donate money. When you place the ceremony, kneel with your feet so that your toes are facing the entrance not towards the Buddha / Put your palms together, bring your thumbs up to your third eye and lower your head. If you are unsure of performing rituals in Laos , you can glance around and follow.

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