In the early hours of each morning, as the sun is rising, the saffron-clad Buddhist monks of Luang Prabang stride silently through the streets barefoot in a single line, accepting gifts from the locals. All around town, locals kneel down on the street, offering the monks gifts of rice, fresh fruit and sweets to contribute to their one meal of the day.
The silent ritual bonds both giver and receiver; the almsgivers do not speak, nor do the monks. The monks walk in meditation, and the almsgivers reciprocate with respect by not disturbing the monk’s meditative peace. For hundreds of years, the ritual has cemented the symbiotic relationship between the monks and the almsgivers who maintain them – by feeding the monks and helping the laypeople make merit, tak bat supports both the monks and the almsgivers.