Thursday, 12 September 2013

Vegetarianism


In this excerpt from the book, we pick up an entry from our "Food" chapter. Following is a short excerpt from the section on Vegetarianism in Burma:
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Vegetarian yogis may be delighted to take part in the Waso festival at Legaing Kyaung Daw Ya Pagoda, located in Pwintphyu in Magway Division. Local legend suggests that the pagoda existed even during the Buddha’s day, when it was entirely built of sandalwood, and in modern times the nearby Mon Chaung tributary flows with rainwater from the eastern slopes of the Rakhine Yomas range and the southern Chin Hills. Each year, on the full moon day of Waso (July/August), the Sayadaw goes with all the monks in tow to where the Mon and Ayeyarwaddy rivers meet, followed by many local pilgrims in boats. Chanting Buddhist suttas the entire way, they arrive prior to the influx of catfish that will soon be passing through. It is believed that the giant fish come at this time to pay their respects to the pagoda, and all the local fishermen dismantle their nets and traps for the following three months. The catfish remain for all of Lent and usually depart after the fullmoon day of Thadingyut in October, with many pilgrims coming to place gold leaves on the heads of the fish. Although some are as large as 3-4 feet, they stay calm as pilgrims approach them and are also fed rice husks or popcorn.

A common sign seen in Burmese vegetarian restaurants