Laos is a typical example of a country having a full of festivals during a year that are attached with Buddhism. Whenever you come to this country, you also have an opportunity to visit and participate in the interesting festivals. It will bring unforgettable memories for tourists about the country of a million elephants.
1. Magha Puja Festival
Magha Puja Festival, also known as Sangha Day, is one of the most sacred days of Buddhist and is hold in many countries such as Thailand, Campuchia and Laos. Magha Puja day is also called Fourfold Assembly Day.This holiday occurs each year on the evening of the full moon of the third month of the lunar calendar. As with many Southeast Asian cultures, the traditional lunar calendar is often used to date holidays, celebrations and other festivities and this result in the date of each celebration changing form one year to the next. For 2012, Magha Puja occurs on February 18t, last year it was the 28th of February.During this event, four good things happen: (1) some 1250 men came to the Buddha without advanced notice (2) the Buddha, himself, ordained the men as monks (3) the Buddha gave special instructions or principles to the new monks and (4) it was the full moon that night. The special principles given were to refrain from all evil, do things that are good and cleanse their minds.
To celebrate this festival, on the night of the full moon of the third lunar month, temples throughout Laos hold a special event. Monks and lay- Buddhists gather together and hold candles, incense and flowers then together they walk around a ceremonial hall. Three times the group circles the hall, clockwise, in honor of the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. There ear other similar ceremonies throughout the three nations, many involving people gathering at temples to honor the event, the history, the Teachings and the Buddha.
2. Vietnamese Tet and Chinese New Year
Vientiane’s considerable Vietnamese and Chinese population celebrates Chinese New Year together; the best places to see the celebrations are in the cities of Vientiane, Pakse and Savannakhet.
Like Chinese New Year all around the region, the holiday’s three days are marked with raucous parties, exploding firecrackers, and visits to temples and family reunions. Vietnamese and Chinese businesses will be closed at this time. Every people meet each other and always say “Happy new year”. The children was bought new clothes and given lucky money. It is seemed to be the happiest day of Vietnamese and Chinese in Laos.
3. WatPhou Festival
WatPhou Festival is organized annually in Champasak in the full moon of the third month of lunar calendar, on the grounds of the enchanting pre-Angkorian, WatPhou temple. The temple is situated at the food of a sacred mountain called Phou Kao. According to historians, WatPhou is the oldest temple in Laos, the center of Hinduism. There is a lagend about sacrifice at WatPhou. Phan princess, the daughter of Lord MuongChampaNakhon was captivated by a man but then he left her forever. Because of this suffering, she made a curse: the girls who are captivated to be pregnant like her have to worship God an ox to hear Confessions. If not, crops will be destroyed.
However, sins still happened everywhere. Many girls still made wrong choices. So the baptism took placed annually. Besides, this festival is also an opportunities for the couples to forget sins and wish happiness.
Nowadays, WatPhou ceremony is a Buddhist festival of South Laos, one of the biggest festivals in Laos, held continuously for three days of the lunar full moon in March.
Laotians and people from the neighboring provinces of Northeastern Thailand pilgrimage here. NoongVieng Lake in front of the ancient temple is the center of this festival. Here are elephants racing, buffaloes fighting, cocks fighting and performances of Lao traditional music and dance. The trade fair showcasing the products from the southern province of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam is also held.
(to be continued)
For more information about festivals in Laos, please visit our website.