The Shinbyu or novitiation ceremony is one of the most important events in a Buddhist’s life in Myanmar. Novitiation means allowing boys to enter the Buddha’s Order of Sangha (or monks) as a novice after shaving their heads, donning robes, and asking permission in Pali to become a novice. Now the occasion is usually associated with much fanfare, and charity feasts are held for invited guests and relatives of the sponsors. There are now also grand ceremonies of mass novitiation, in which sometimes up to a thousand affluent well-wishers sponsor a number of boys who have been unable to become novices. While Myanmar boys are novitiated in the Shinbyu ceremony, the girls also have an important ceremony in which their ear lobes are pierced so they can wear ear-rings when they come of age. Unlike the novitiation ceremony, this is more a social than religious event.This ceremony of young girls usually coincides with the boys’ novitiation rather than being held on its own. [Source]

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