In the Southeast Asian nation of Laos, it’s common for boys and young men to temporarily commit to monkhood, even if they do not remain in service for the rest of their lives. This custom brings a merit to both the novice monks and their families. As the elder monks do, the boys shave their heads (we noticed the monks tended to do so all on a set day) and don the saffron robe.
During our travels through Laos, particularly in Luang Prabang, but also in Phonsavan and the capital city, Vientiane, we saw novice monks sporting cellular phones and MP3 players. It was an interesting example of an old tradition meeting new technology.
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Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.