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Giving alms

ตักบาตร or "TAK BAT" means giving alms to monks.

Every morning at dawn, monks are going out to get some food. Thai people fill monk bowl with rice, soft drinks, cakes and so on... This ceremony is called "TAKBAT". Thai people are making good deeds ("THAM BUN" - ทำบุญ). To make the action as good as possible, people must give the best food they have. They should not be avaricious by giving cheap food. Monks deserve the best. By offering food to monks, they are supposed to give food to relatives who died already.

Give food to monks
"TAK BAT" ceremony can happen in village but also in temples. In the early morning Thai people go to the temple and bring food with them. Some people go to listen the Buddhist Dharma in the main chapel while other are preparing the food.
Food preparation
When the Buddhist sermon is finished, monks go out of the main chapel. Thai people are queuing and monks are walking smoothly, holding their bowl. People are filling monks bowl with food. When the bowl is full, a layman empties it in another big plate and the monk can continue with his bowl.
Give food to monks
Giving alms
Give food to monks
When Thai people give alms they need to remove their shoes. Before pouring the food in the monk bowl, a short prayer shall be said. While giving food to monks, women shall beware. They cannot touch monks as they are the symbol of purity. Monks never say thank you and never look at the people who give food. It is the tradition. When going out for alms in the early morning, monks walk bare foot.
Giving alms
When "TAK BAT" ceremony is over, all the food is gathered on tables. Some laymen finished to prepare the food before the distribution.
Give food to monks
Food preparation
Give food to monks
Then people can start to eat. First monks start to get their food. They have to take a small portion of each plate. Then the laymen with white clothes continue.
White clothes laymen queuing

The men can get food before the women.

Then the nuns. Finally when the nuns have finished to serve themselves, ordinary laymen and laywomen can get some food. The scene is less idyllic. No smooth service anymore. Anyway there is enough food for all.
Give food to monks
Nuns queuing

That kind of opulent meal doesn't happen everyday. Sometimes a layman or laywoman wants to make good deeds.




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