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Events and Festival in Laos

Laos also celebrated both National and International festivals in their country. Most of festivals in Laos starting from harvest festivities, rain-making ceremonies to religious observations. Please note during these events all the government offices are closed and, although certain shops stay open, not a lot gets done. Join us! All our great festival during your holiday in our country.

January

Bun Pha Wet: falling on different dates - people exchange invitations with friends and families in different villages to join in their celebrations - this festival is a commemoration of the Jataka, the life story of Lord Buddha as Prince Vestsantara. The story is recited in temples throughout the country and this is considered a particularly auspicious time for ordination as a monk.

February

Magha Puja: held on the night of the full moon, this festival commemorates the original teachings of Lord Buddha given to over a thousand monks who came spontaneously to hear him speak. The festival is marked by grand parades of candle-bearing worshippers circling their local temples, merit making, and much religious music and chanting.

Vietnamese Tet & Chinese New Year: celebrated in Vientiane, Pakse and Savannakhet by the larger Vietnamese and Chinese communities who close their businesses for several days during this period, this festival combines visits to temples and merit making with noisy parties, and hundreds of strings of firecrackers.

Boun Wat Phu: Boun vat phu  ( vat phu Festival ) this is the largest festival in the province one of the largest in the entire country. This festival attracts thousands of the people each year, who gather at the base of the ancient vat phu temple for prayer ceremonies and enjoy the festival.

March

Boun Khoun Khao: a harvest festival celebrated at local temples.

April

Boun Pee Mai Lao (Lao New Year Festival) On 14th -16th :

For the Lao New Year, there are festivals in all over Laos. The festival aims at farewelling an old year and welcoming a new year. In Champasak province, the biggest festivals are held in the Pakse city. One of festival activities celebrating New Year is Nangsangkhan (Miss Lao New Year).

The most beautiful girl will be selected as a Miss Lao New Year. Miss Lao New Year parades around the Pakse city on the back of artificial mock-up of an animal. Animals are changed in every year based on the historical story.

Some families organize "baci" ceremonies; big arches made by rice plants in order to show their respects to the earth and sky as well as to the land spirits who facilitate rice production. They splash

or pour fragrant water with flowers to people passed by to wash bad things from their bodies. 

Also at temples, Buddha statues are brought outside from the temples and people come to pour water on the statues. It is said that if people pour water in 9 temples, people can get good luck for the year.

May

Labour Day: 1st May      Public holiday

The Vixakha Bouxa festival is the Lao version of the Thai Visakha Puja, which it closely resembles. It commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha, which are all said to have happened on the same date. It is held around the month of May or Vesak, based on the lunar calendar. Celebrations include dances, poems, parades, processions, deep meditation, theatrical performances, and puppet shows.

Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival): is a merit-making ceremony traditionally practiced by Ethnic Lao people throughout much of northeast Thailand and Laos, by numerous villages and municipalities near the beginning of the rainy season. Celebrations typically include preliminary music and dance performances, competitive processions of floats, dancers and musicians on the second day, and culminating on the third day in competitive firings of home-made rockets. Local participants and sponsors use the occasion to enhance their social prestige, as is customary in traditional Buddhist folk festivals throughout Southeast Asia. This festival now coincides with the Laos Visakha Puja celebrations.

Today, it is not so likely for the villages to stage "Bun Bang Fai" more elaborate than highly promoted Yasothon's. However, even villages may have themed floats conveying government messages, as Keys advises. They may also include fairs. In recent years the Tourism Authority of Thailand has helped promote these events, particularly the festivals in the Thai provinces of Nong Khai and Yasothon -- the latter boasting the largest and most elaborate of these festivals.

June/July

Children's Day:    (1st June - Public Holiday)

Khao Phansaa: Marking the beginning of the three-month Buddhist Lent, which commences at the full moon in July and continues until the full moon in October, this is considered a particularly auspicious time for Lao men to enter the monkhood and is marked by numerous ordination ceremonies.

August

Boun Khao Padap Din: Devoted to remembering and paying respect to the dead, it is marked by the macabre ceremony of exhuming previously buried bodies, cleaning the remains, and then cremating them on the night of the full moon. Relatives then present gifts to the monks who have chanted on behalf of those who have passed away.

September

Boun Khao Salak: offerings including daily necessities such as books, pens, sugar and coffee are made to specific monks based on a lottery system. Laypeople also give beautiful wax flower candies to the monks to gain merit.

October

Boun ork pansa: held on the full moon which marks end of the rainy season, monks who were ordained for the three month lent period leave the and rejoin their families banana leaf boats called heua fai are launched on rivers with offerings of incense, candies and small amounts of money to bring luck and prosperity.

Boun Suang Heua (Boat Racing Festival): This festival is annually organized to express people's appreciation to the Mekong River for supporting their life.   The ceremonies are taken place at the Mekong river bank and each temple. Wat Luang  temple is the main temple which organizes boat racing.

On the first day in the early morning Buddhists gather at each temple and give alms to monks and in return monks bless people.  

On the same day in the evening people gather again to temples and parade around the temple three times following monks with candles.  After the parade, some groups prepare "Lay Huapi", long boats made by bamboo and banana trees, and put them on the river.   In the boats, people put cakes, foods, flowers, and

many colored candles for decoration. Also some people prepare "Katthong", smaller boats made by banana trees, and put candles on them. On the Second day at around 7:00 o'clock, a boat racing ceremony starts at the Sedon river bank. Then boat racing starts. The boats from other districts of Champasak race each other. 

November

Boun That Luang: Though celebrated at many temples around the country, this festival is traditionally centred at That Luang in Vientiane. Fairs, beauty contests, music and fireworks take place throughout the week of the full moon, and end with a candlelight procession (wien thien) around the temple of That Luang.

Boun maka bousa: This festival is held the full moon to commemorate the speech given by the Buddha to 1,250 enlightened monks that gathered spontaneously, without prior notice. In the evening, with candles in the ceremony known as vien tian

Boun keo chi: A special offering of sticky rice is coated with eggs then roasted and offered to monk. This ceremony is associated with MaKa bousa 

December

Lao National Day (2nd December - public holiday): Streets strewn with national flags and banners, processions, parades, and speeches are the highlights of this celebration for the victory of the proletariat in 1975.  

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