Dad is bringing the kids to visit grandmother and the monks are going to a dana.
Dana is offered to the monks to mark various important life-events such as birthdays, death anniversaries of families and friends etc. It consists of a meal and small gifts for which the monks chant various blessings. The more monks that are invited, the more honor to the occasion. In small villages, such as Godagama, monks will be invited from surrounding temples if the hosting family can afford to feed every one. Tables, cooking utensils, plates, etc will be borrowed from neighbors and the temple.
The man at the head of the procession is the son of the man who died a year earlier. He is holding a Buddha relic over his head and a friend is holding the yellow umbrella over it as a sign of respect and protection.
### Note: Apropos of nothing above, I wanted to share this web link with you. As fellow photographers, I thought that you might be interested in some of the history of early photography. These are photos of the American Civil War from the Library of Congress. Imagine, if you can, the difficulty encountered in capturing these photos when you had to carry your equipment in a horse drawn cart instead of your pocket.
I have not personally viewed every individual image so I will apologize now in case any of them are disturbing to you.
Mike Lynaugh is a credentialed Washington, DC photographer. ###