Laotian HonoringDead - GOR-55788-08
Laotian Community honoring dead relatives.
In the kitchen, half a dozen women worked preparing food as others prepare offerings and money. People pinned crisp bills together in chains that hang like leaves on the branches of a metal tree. This money tree of honor, represents the dead members. The 4 trees are for the son's father, brother and grandparents.
The monks, in their saffron robes, sit cross-legged at the base of the altar that held the Buddha, chanting and murmuring prayers and large woven candle representing each of the relatives present is burned.
The family and all their friends give food and candles to the monks. Goodwill is created by these gifts and it is believed that the goodwill helps the lingering spirit of the dead persons. As the monks chant, gifts of cash and food are offered in honor at a memorial celebration. Once the gifts are presented, the monks partake their daily meal.
The community then will join in after the monks have eaten. The offerings are eventually used to support the temple and the monks.
Laotian community settled in Putnam County FL in the late 1970's after the Vietnam War ended. The parents became farm labors and their children born afterwards became Americanized excelling in school and off to college and afterward leaving the County for the city for better jobs.