Ywa Ma village

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The Ywa Ma market used to be a floating market, with villagers selling/buying food from their boats. Today, the market has come onto land and recently a covered area has been built where tourists can buy local handicrafts. The food market was a little sparse today because most of the villagers were involved in a Noviciation ceremony. The tomatoes are very tasty, and are the dominant product of the floating gardens of Inle Lake.

The markets here open up every five days. The vendors then move onto another location on this regular cycle.

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At the jetty we noticed a boat decked out in ceremonial style…

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… and then we saw a young man, dressed as a Prince, and being photographed by a professional photographer.

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We went inside the temple where villagers were sat on the floor eating snacks and chatting; for the most part, the men and women sat seperately. The lady in the pink silk outfit is the boy’s mother. Many of the ladies wore fresh flowers in their hair.

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While all this socialising was going on, the noviciate sat patiently on his ‘throne’. Later in the day, he would have his head shaved and enter a monastery for a short period of time.

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It was clear that the noviciate’s family must be quite wealthy. The temple was adorned with posters of the young man (probably eight years old), and tables were stacked with offerings which were destined for the monasteries.

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In the building next-door, tables had been prepared for the feast to come.

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Just looking outside, you can see that this whole area must be quite wealthy, given the number of golden stupas. People in Myanmar may live in fairly basic conditions, but their devotion to their faith is very strong. Hence, money goes to building pagodas and supporting the monasteries.

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Later in the day we happened to see the noviciate’s barge on the water, but I think he must already have alighted.

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© Helen Gray 2021