April at the temple

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They learn to walk with their head bowed.
They learn to walk with their head bowed.

As the temperature rose and the country enjoyed the Songkran festivities there were many young Thai boys who spent their school holidays and the month of April at a local temple.

It is a tradition that goes back many years, and generations of Thai boys and young men have spent time ordained as novice monks.

Twenty boys from the Father Ray Children’s Village were ordained at their local temple, a beautiful building facing Lake Mabprachan.

During their time at the temple the novice monks must follow strict rules. However, as they are so young they only have to follow ten rules, including no lying, not killing any living thing, no wearing perfume or sleeping on a comfortable bed! But the most difficult rule which most boys find hard to follow is not being allowed to eat past noon, which is not as easy as you may think.

But they are rewarded, as their first meal once they leave the temple is at the nearest KFC restaurant, and eating starts after noon.

(Above) Three weeks as a novice monk.
(Above) Three weeks as a novice monk.
Getting robed each morning is not easy.
Getting robed each morning is not easy.
Head and eyebrows shaved.
Head and eyebrows shaved.
No food allowed after 12 noon.
No food allowed after 12 noon.
Well worth the wait.
Well worth the wait.
An ice cream reward.
An ice cream reward.