I received a second batch of photos from my cousin in Laos and was happy to see a photo of Grand-Mama making food to take to the temple for the Boun Hor Khao Padapdin.
On this day, Buddhists prepare food for their relatives who have passed away and for abandoned spirits that have been suffering in hell. They believe that on this day they will be released from hell to come and eat the food put out for them around homes and temples.
This ritual occurs in every temple and requires devotees to get up early in the morning to bring the food they prepared the day before. Up to nine kinds of offerings are bound in a horkhao , a decorative package wrapped up in banana leaves and containing fruit, sweets, dried fish, flowers and other items.
Grand-Mama can’t sit in the proper way with her legs fold for too long so she couldn’t attend the Morning Alms Giving. She still can’t walk beyond the front gate of the house but did her best to help with paying respect to her deceased mother and other relatives. I asked her why she was putting this different ingredients in one banana wrap and she told me that is to give the spirits different types of food in one serving.
I can still recall this event as a kid in Laos. It was not all that scary for me and I like the part when I had to leave food for the spirits around the trees and calling them out to come eat the offerings. The last time my mother and I made food for Boun Hor Khao Padapdin we were still dealing with the death of my sister. I still have a vivid memory of calling out her name, desperately wanting her to have something good to eat in the afterlife.