Monks Morning Alms - Luang Prabang, Laos
We rose early one morning to watch the procession of monks collecting food as alms at the break of dawn. We chose to stand near the Wat Nong Temple, away from the main street. This street was empty, save the several groups of women who came out with food. They sat on mats with their baskets of sticky rice and waited. Each woman gave a small amount of sticky rice to every monk that passed.
Monks are only allowed to eat until 11 or 11:30 in the morning, forsaking food for the remainder of the day. It was good to see how the locals take care of feeding their monks. The monks in turn try to take care of others in the community who do not have enough, forming a sort of social system.
Earlier, we'd read some public announcement leaflets asking tourists not to get into the monks' faces, block their stride, or use flash to distract them (basic courtesy).
Luckily, the few people around honored this request. At the end of the procession, a couple of obnoxious tourists broke the peace with their cameras and gear, almost to the point of absurdity. It was ugly really; we felt bad for the monks being treated like they were in the zoo.
Read more about laid back Luang Prabang.