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Festivals of Laos

February

Elephant Festival

The festival will be held in Paklay, Sayaboury Province, for more information go www.elefanasia.org.
Bounkhaochi (Makaboucha)
A ceremony held at the wat in the morning, when a special “bread made of sticky rice” is offered. This festival is held during the third full moon of the lunar calendar.

On the same time:

Sikhottabong Festival in Khammoune Province


The festival is held around of the Sikhottabong stupa, which is located about. Which is located about 8 km south of Thakek City; built in the 9th and 10th century by King Nantahsena, the stupa was restored to its original grandeur in the 1950’s.
Wat Phou Festival in Champasak Province
This festival is held on the grounds of the enchanting pre-Angkorian Wat Phu ruins a World Heritage site: festivities include donations and offerings, elephant races, buffao fights, and performances of Laos traditional music and dance: a trade fair showcasing products of southern Laos.

April

“Boun Pi Mai” Laos’ New Year


The Lao New Year is celebrated at the same time each year (April 13-16). The 13th is usually the first day of the New Year. On the 13th, Buddha images are taken out of the temples to be cleansed with scented water by devotees, and placed on special temporary altars within the compounds of “wat” (temples). Devotees gather the scented water falling off the images, to take home and use it to pour on friends and relatives, as an act of cleaning and purification before entering the New Year. In the evening of the 15th, the images are returned to their proper shiners within the temples. Boun Pi Mai is a time for much joyous celebration, with good deeds and prayers in anticipation of the New Year.

May

Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival)


A ceremony for praying for rain is performed at the temple in the morning. In the afternoon, people gather in fields on the outskirts of villages and towns to launch the rockets with much abandoned revelry. Villages, communities and civil departments compete for the “best decorated” and the “highest travelling” rocket. Beginning around the middle of May, the festival dates are staggered from place to place enabling more participation and attendance. This is the time when an offering to the spirits can be made in a corner of one’s garden, early each morning.
Boun Visakhaboucha
This festival is held during the sixth full moon of the lunar calendar for the Buddha. Candlelight processions are held in temples to mark the birth date of Buddha.

July

Boun Asalahaboucha and Boun Khao Pansa (Buddhist Lent)


This is the beginning of the Buddhist Lent. During the next three-month period, monks spend most to their time in prayer and meditation and are restricted from spending nights in other “wats”. This festival is held during the eighth full moon of the lunar calendar.
 
August


Bound Khao Padabdin (Rice) and Boat Racing Festival in Luang Prabang
On the Khao Padabdin ceremony day, people visit local temples to make offerings to dead ancestors as well as to share in merit-making. This festival includes boat racing on the Nam Khan River and a trade fair in Luang Prabang, the World Heritage town.

September

Boun Khao Salak (Rice)


This is for offerings to be made on behalf of dead ancestors to obtain merit. Popular and exciting boat-racing competitions are held to celebrate the river. This festival is held during the tenth full moon of the lunar calendar.
 
October

Boun Ok Phansa, Baot Racing Festival – Naga Rocket


This is the festival held after the end of the monks’ three-month fast and retreat during the rainy season (Boun Khao Pansa). At dawn on the first day, donations and offerings are made at temples around the city. In the evening, candle light processions are held at temples and hundreds of colourful floats decorated with flowers, incense and candles are set adrift down the Mekong River to pay respect to the river spirit. The following day in Vientiane, Savannakhet and Champasack Provinces, a popular and exciting boat racing competition is held to celebrate the Mekong River.

“Naga Rocket”, the fireballs coming out from the water’s surface, can be seen once a year on the last night of the Lao Buddhist lent. The naga rackets can be spotted where the Nam Ngum and the Mekong River meet in the Thaprabath district, Bolikhamxai province, as well as in Pak Ngum district, 60 km east of Vientiane.

November

Lao Handicrafts Festival


The event takes place in Vientiane. Visitors can find household goods, silk and cotton weavings, stone carvings, jewellery and metal art, exotic wood products, wickerwork, rattan and bamboo items, cultural products, food items and pottery. The festival also includes a fashion show of Lao textiles, and jewelry, handicraft prize award for souvenir.

That Luang Festival in Vientiane

This religious festival is held in and around That Luang Stupa, the National Symbol of Laos, where hundreds of monks from all around the country gather to accept alms and floral votives from the people. The festival includes and grand fireworks display at night. During the day, and international trade fair, showcasing tourism in Laos and other countries from ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The That Luang Festival attracts Lao people and foreigners alike from around the world every year. It is the largest festival of Laos.
 
During the same period a similar festival is also celebrated at Ching Tim Stupa in Luang Namtha Province.

Hmong New Year

In Oudomxay, Sayaboury, Xiengkouang, Ouang Prabnag, and Vientiane Provinces, this year, the Hmong New Year celebration features colorful displays of traditional costumes made from green, red and white silk and ornate silver jewelry. Music from traditional Hmong instruments such as the teau-flute, Hmong style Khene pipe and leaf blowing is enjoyed. Other festivities include the Makkhon (cotton-ball) throwing ceremony, ox fighting, spi9nning-top races and crossbow demonstrations.

December

That Inhang Festival in Savannakhet Province
The event will be held on the grounds of the splendid That Inhang Stupa which is located just outside the city of Savannakhet. An international trade fair will include exhibitions of tourism products from laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The fair will also include the performance of Traditional Lao music and dance, as well as a sport competition, and a drumming competition.
 

 

 
 



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