So far, I have accomplished the following:
- Set the date/invited the monks/invited the participants
- Made the menu
- Checked supplies (non-grocery)/shopped for items needed
- Confirmed the date with monks
- Shopped for non-perishables
Bread and butter
Vegetarian pizza (daughter will make)
Dhal curry (already prepared and frozen)
Cucumber/tomato/red onion salad
Either boiled eggs to serve with cucumber salad or egg curry
Sauted green beans
- Variety of candies/sweets/chocolates
- Variety of fresh fruits, cut up
- Yogurt and treacle
- Apple dump cake
The menu is being adapted a bit to suit the dietary needs of one monk who can't eat any spicy food. So, I will keep aside some of the boiled cashews and the boiled eggs, before I make the curries, and saute the green beans without any spices for him. The bread and butter is also for him, as last year, he preferred that to rice.
Still to do:
Dec. 13 - Dec. 20:
- Go to the bank/Get donations ready
- Call and remind the invitees - STARTED
- Start cleaning the house
- Collect casserole dish from cousin
- Cook and freeze cashew curry
- Rearrange furniture - sofas, coffee tables, tall round side table (for reliquary), trolley (for plates of offerings), remove blue & white vases near fireplace (so I can set the small sofa in front of the fireplace)
- Take down dishes used only for almsgiving and wash them
- Take out serving dishes, basins used for washing hands, serving spoons, etc.
- Take out plates, bowls, etc. for guests
- Keep a curious kitty away from the dishes! We do not want kitty nose prints on the washed dishes!
Friday, Dec. 21:
- Go grocery shopping for perishables
- Buy flowers/pick from garden
- Put cashews and dhal to thaw
- Set out items needed for the transfer of merit: teapot, cup, and water basin; fill teapot with water
- Set out candles/incense sticks & holder; lighter/matches
- Set out new bottle of water for blessing; bowl to catch drips when blessed water is poured out
- Set out items for washing hands: fresh cake of soap, hand towels, jugs & basins
Saturday, Dec. 22 (day of almsgiving):
- Bake apple dump cake
- Daughter to make vegetarian pizza
- Take out chair covers, table cloths, napkins, etc.; cover chairs, tables
- Arrange flowers in vases
- Cut up fruits and arrange in saucers; cover
- Arrange a variety of sweets in saucers; cover
- Dish out yogurt into bowls; cover
- Pour palm treacle into sauce boat (to be served over yogurt)
- Dish out dump cake, cover
- Cook rice (2 types - white and red)
- Make salad
- Warm up curries; dish out into smaller serving dishes for serving to monks; bigger serving dishes for guests
- Serve up offerings to the Buddha and offerings for the Order of Monks
- Boil water and keep warm for those monks who prefer hot water
- Pour water and juice into glasses
10:30 a.m. - Everything should be done and ready; guests arrive and their contributions added to offerings to the Buddha and the Order of Monks
11:00 a.m. - Monks arrive; Offerings to Buddha, Order of Monks, etc. take place and service begins with devotions being recited.
11:30 a.m. - Lunch is served to the monks
12:00 noon - Monks finish their lunch, plates are cleared, a sermon is said, blessings are chanted, merit gained from almsgiving is transferred to departed loved ones, donations are offered to the monks.
1:00 p.m. - the monks leave, the religious ceremonies are concluded, lunch is served to all those who participated.
Followed by washing up and cleaning and putting things away until the next time! My family and friends usually help me with the washing up and putting away the food and putting the furniture back in place.
It's a lot of work, I know, but I will try to pace myself and do as much as I can in advance. My daughter will prepare some of the dishes for me. Friend R has promised to come early on Saturday morning to help, as well.
In the meantime, I need to get my Christmas gifts ready and attend the three medical appointments scheduled between now and the almsgiving! I am off to put the cashews to soak and work on one Christmas gift!