The Shinbyu or Novice hood Ceremony

Most Myanmar people believe Buddhism which is about 85% of population. Therefore, the tradition of Shinbyu or Novitiation into the monkhood is the most gracious for all Buddhist families. They believe that if their sons have been initiated into novice-hood at least on in his life, the parents will not suffer in hell in next existence. Even though the family does not have a boy, they look for someone to do for the Buddhist boys. This ceremony is the most important event as a family earns great merit when a son forsakes his childhood life and put on the robe of the monk. Most of the Shin Pyu ceremonies are held throughout the country especially on the months of March and April as the young boys have a long summer vacation as well as parents also have long holidays during Myanmar New Year days. Another reason is that farmers and those associated with agriculture are financially better off during these months with profits from their crops.

On ceremony day, the family members, relatives and the boy who becomes a novice wear nicely and visit to the most famous pagodas in the morning to let the public know about the ceremony and let spirits (nats) to know that they have not been forsaken and they are welcomed to share the good merits of this occasion. After that, the young boy’s hair is shaving by one of the monks in the monastery, while the parents hold a piece of white cloth in front of the boy to collect the boy’s hair. Then, the boy has to wear the robe and believing Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Mostly, all invited guests are hosted meal at a monastery until 12:00 noon. After the ceremony, the parent and family members go back home but the novice has to live in a monastery for few days but not limited as to how long he remains as novice by learning Buddha’s words and practicing meditation.

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