Weaving by the Light of the Moon
In honor of the upcoming National Weaving and Spinning Week, here’s a another weaving celebration, this one held in Burma (Myanmar).
The traditional Burmese month of Tazaungmone (November) is considered an advantageous time to give new robes to Buddhist monks. The robes can be purchased, or, for the brave weavers there are the Mathoe Robe Weaving Contests held throughout the country. Known by several other names, these contests are held in honor of the Buddha’s mother who wove him his first monk’s robe in a single night.
On the day before the first full moon of the month, teams of weavers compete to weave the yellow cloth for a monk’s robe in just a few hours. (Robes not finished within that short time span are referred to as “stale.”) Those weavings that are finished within the time are judged on speed, quality, and the size of the cloth woven. The weavers are given a prize, and the robes are then ceremonially given to Buddha images at pagodas throughout the country.