Parading Into Monkhood

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Aaron Hooper Aaron Hooper is a Phuket-based photographer and RL Phuket contributor. Contact Aaron for sale of limited edition prints or for private or business photography shoots bookings on
Ah Hlu Hle Pwe Donation Procession, Myinkaba Village, Myanmar

After a long dusty day riding my banged-up motorbike through the temples of Bagan, Myanmar, I happened into this grand display on my way home. Far on the outskirts of Bagan in the little village of Myinkaba, an elaborate parade was beginning. There were elephants, monkeys, giant white cows, horses, elaborate silk costumes, feverish music from both live instruments and massive tower speakers, food carts, balloons, dancers, fireworks, you name it, it was here. 

I learned later that this was a very important day for the children of the village as they were preparing for their first foray into monkhood. Young boys, dressed in their finest silks, were making their way through small dusty villages. Perched atop the backs of sacred white cows, they gather donations for boarding and education at their respective monasteries.

The chance to witness this day, completely unaware of its significance at the moment, was another of my many fortuitous evenings in the enchanting land of Myanmar.