No Songkran for many

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The country is now in full swing as it prepares for the Thai New Year festivities, and at the same time Pattaya readies itself for the extended Songkran celebrations.

But not everyone will be standing on the side of the road and throwing water over anyone and anything that passes by.

Eight years of age and his first time at the temple.
Eight years of age and his first time at the temple.

There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of young men and children, boys, who will be spending the school summer holidays as novice monks in their local temples.

Joining this number are ten young boys from the Father Ray Children’s Village, the youngest just eight and the eldest almost a teenager, and they gathered with more than one hundred and fifty boys from the local Nongprue area to ordain as novice monks.

The two day ceremony culminated with the boys changing from their white robes into their traditional orange robes, which are just as difficult to put on as they look.

Final prayer before being ordained.
Final prayer before being ordained.

For the next three weeks the boys will have to follow rules that every novice monk has followed. Thankfully there are only ten rules, as opposed to the two hundred and twenty seven that regular monks have to follow.

As novice monks they must not kill any living thing, steal, have sex, tell untruths, take drugs or alcohol, eat after noon, play music and sing, wear perfume and garlands, sleep on luxurious soft beds and finally, rule number ten, they must not accept money.

The Father Ray Children’s Village will be a much quieter place with the boys away, but it is hoped that they will learn to become better citizens during their time at the temple.

From white to orange.
From white to orange.
It was a long and tiring day.
It was a long and tiring day.
Many youngsters found it difficult to stay awake.
Many youngsters found it difficult to stay awake.
Novice monks.
Novice monks.