Recurring Theme: Nice to Meet You

Posted by Toby Morrison — 17 May 2013

"This is Burma and it is quite unlike any land you know."
~Rudyard Kipling


Myanmar by Richard Juilliart

Submitted to Recurring Theme Nice to Meet You. 

I was immediately drawn to the image above while reviewing the 'Nice to Meet You' theme.   Initially, it was the position of the boy's hands paired with his intense gaze that struck me.  After clicking to see the larger sized image, the photo had completely sucked me in.  At this point I wanted to reach out and shake this boy's hand and... really meet him.  Now, boiling with curiosity, I wanted to know where is this boy from? Why is he praying? What's behind him?  The intense look in his eyes, where does it come from?  The half clothed attire made me wonder about his culture and his family life. 

There was little said about the photo or the other collection of shots featured in a series titled Myanmar.  I decided to contact Richard, to see what more I could find out directly from the photographer.  

"I took this picture in Bagan "the most famous place in Myanmar for these historical temples. I meet this boy close to a monastery. Following this tradition, every Myanmar Buddhist boy between the ages of 7 and 13 is expected to enter the monastery for a period of a few days to a few months. This boy was novice since several months. I don't know if he decide to be a monk or not."

Myanmar is a country located in Southeast Asia with China bordering it to the north and India to it's west.  Bagan is considered the main tourist attraction of Myanmar, known for it's over 2000 temples spread across miles and miles of forested land of Myanmar.  The temples themselves are known as an archaeological hot bed for Buddhist artifacts and decorations. 

Some consider Myanmar the most religious Buddhist country in the world.  The Myanmar tradition that Richard is referring to is an initiation ceremony to become a monk.  This ceremony is the most significant part of a young male's life.  Once the boys enter the monastery as a "novice" they can stay for many weeks to several months.  The novice monks have a choice to return to their life outside the monastery or can stay on as a monk.  At the key age of 20, the boy graduates from his novice status.  The monks grow up together forming relationships for sometimes decades with one another.  Monks are free to come and go from the monastery as they choose, based on the merits of individual achievement.  

Check out more photos in Recurring Theme: Nice to Meet You where YOU can post an image of someone interesting, strange, or fascinating from around the world. 

If you see a photo of someone you would like to meet or would like to introduce to the rest of the JPG community let us know!

Show us your world ~ Happy shooting!

« Ethereal Angel | Photo Challenge: Act of Sharing »