English Language Fellow Kandice Kardell joined her students in a traditional wrist-tying ceremony at the Chaukhtatgyi Monastery. At the event, students dressed in colorful traditional costumes and danced outside the monastery all morning to Kayin music. Afterwards, elders blessed participants regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or nationality through the following process: with palms up, a drop of water was placed on their forearms, string was tied around their wrists, and a small amount of banana and rice was placed on their heads while the elders recited prayers.
A glass of water symbolized peace of mind, strength, and cleansing of body and mind; string served to protect the participant from misfortune and evil, and ties spirit to the body to keep it from wandering; seven rice balls represented unity, solidarity and sharpness; and seven bananas represented loyalty and discipline.
Following the wrist-tying ceremony, Kardell was invited to eat traditional Kayin food around a table with other community members. Students and community members expressed their appreciation for her participation, and the opportunity to share with her this important cultural event.