Monks are the religious leaders of the Buddhist religion. Becoming a monk is a big deal. The life of a monk is a humble one as you are expected to let go of worldly pleasures and lead a basic life.
The ceremony of becoming a monk is ritualistic. It is done in the ancient Pali language. It seems many religions recognize the old languages as more sanctimonious. The ritual begins with a sponsor (parents) presenting him with his bowl and robes. It also involves other monks, including a senior monk instructing on the ceremony and giving him his new monk name.
Although the monk is to live a life free from earthly desires, he is typically showered with gifts during the ceremony. He may give those gifts away if he desires. It just seems a bit odd to give all these gifts to one who is leaving that life behind
I've never witnessed that part of the ceremony, but I have witnessed the sort of party they have outside the temple after it's complete. It involves going around the temple several times with family and friends in attendance. Candy and money is tossed out to the followers. Again, seems a bit in contrast to their newly processed lifestyle change. Why entice others with such things? But then, who am I to judge?
I was driving by on my motorbike when I came across the ceremony. Of course I had to stop to document the fun! I hope you enjoy:
I've come into contact with monks many times in my travels. I have a great story of monks living on a ledge in a remote area, but I have to retrieve the pictures from an older computer first.
Monks live in the temples and often go into the streets in the morning to collect offerings of food and money from the village people. I suppose it's similar to a preacher or priest living from the offerings of a congregation. Seems most religions share similarities.
Also, similar to any religion there are many stories of corrupt monks who don't really forgo the celibate and humble life. But I guess hypocrisy is part of human nature. The monks I met all seemed to be worthy of their calling. But then, who knows?