Honorable Mention / 2021 / Portraiture / Culture

Theravada Buddhist Monastery

  • Photographer
    Steff Gruber, Switzerland

Theravada Buddhism has been the Cambodian state religion since the 13th century. Buddhism was suppressed by French influences in the 19th and 20th centuries, and by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. But the Cambodians worked hard to rebuild the country and its religion following these two eras. Today, it is estimated that over 95 per cent of the population is Buddhist.
Boys traditionally spent part of their lives as monks. Although less common today, this practice is once again widespread. Families consider it a great honor if their sons enter a monastery and live as monks, however briefly.