The eighth full moon marks the beginning of a special time of year for Buddhists in Myanmar. It is often referred to as “Buddhist Lent” or the “Rains Retreat.” Monks and novices stay in the monastery or temple for the entire three-month period to meditate, fast, and sleep. Locals often practice a more ascetic lifestyle during this time period as well, often giving up meat, smoking, or alcohol for a portion or all of the three months, spending more time giving alms on the streets or visiting local temples to meditate.
To observe the fasting rules only two meals (breakfast and lunch) are allowed before midday during this time. For breakfast you can try Pe Byouk—flat bread served with a pea paste. For lunch, there is a huge number of salads. Lahpet Thoke is a delicious leaf salad, also try tomato or lemon salads. If you happen to be in Shan State try Shan tofu, noodles, or yellow rice with tomatoes.