Events & Festivals in Laos

 

Laos celebrates many annual festivals called "Boun", which are particularly enjoyable and beautiful, and they are signifying traditional aspects of Lao lifestyle. Most festivals are connected with religion and the yearly rice farming cycle. The timing of the festivals is calculated according to the Buddhist lunar calendar.

 

January

That Inhang Festival in Savannakhet Province – (Different date each year)
This festival will be held on the grounds of the splendid That Inhang Stupa, located just outside the city of Savannakhet.  An international trade fair will feature 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 sports competition featuring football, boxing, tennis and local sports traditions (including a drumming competition).

 

February

Boun Khao Chi Festival (Makhaboucha) - (Different date each year)
A ceremony is held at the "Wat" (temple) 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. The festival commemorates the original teachings of Lord Buddha given to over a thousand monks who came spontaneously to hear him preach. The festival is marked by grand parades of candle-bearing worshippers circling their local temples, merit-making, and much religious music and chanting.

Boun Pha Vet - (Different date each year)
An offering ceremony where a donation is made and one's future is read during the three day-three night festivals.

     

Wat Phou Festival in Champasack Province – (Between 22 Jan. – 03 Feb.)
This festival is held during the third full moon of the lunar calendar on the grounds of the enchanting pre-Angkorian Wat Phou ruins in Champasack. Festivities include elephant races, buffalo fights, cock fighting, and traditional Lao music and dance performances. To coincide with the festival, a trade fair is also held to showcase products originating from southern Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Sikhottabong Festival in Khammouane Province - (Different date each year)
This traditional religious festival is held at Sikhottabong Stupa, located about 8 kilometers to the South of Thakhek town. The stupa was built between the 9th and 10th Century by King Nantahsena and was restored to its original grandeur during the 1950's.

Elephant Festival in Hongsa District, Xaiyabouly Province - (Different date each year)
Festival activities include a majestic parade with over fifty elephants, a traditional elephant Baci ceremony, fruits and flowers offerings, mahout and elephant show, an elephant race, several exhibitions and an elephant museum.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see documentary films on a large outdoor screen and enjoy live performance on the main stage or go for an elephant ride in the neighboring forest. Home-stay will be arranged at villagers’ homes and land will be available for campers.

  

April

Boun Pi Mai Festival - Lao's New Year (Mostly April 14th – 16th)
Lao New Year is celebrated at the same time each year (April 14-16). This year, the 16th is 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 "wats" (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 cleansing and purification before entering the New Year. On the evening of the 15th, the images are returned to their proper shriners 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) – (Different date each year)
A ceremony 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 departments compete for the "best decorated" and the "highest traveling" rocket. Beginning around the middle of May, the festivals are staged from place to place, enabled 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 (Between 10 – 13th May)
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 birthdate of Buddha.

 

July

Boun Asalahaboucha and Boun Khao Pansa – Buddhist Lent – (Between 8 – 12th July)
This is the beginning of Buddhist Lent. During the next three-month period, monks spend most of their times 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

Boun Khao Padabdin (Rice) and Boat Racing Festival in Luang Prabang – (Around 23th Aug.)
At the Khao Padabdin ceremony day, people visit local temples to make offerings to dead ancestors as well as to share merit-making. This festival includes boat racing on the Nam Khan River and a trade fair in Luang Prabang World Heritage town.

 

September

Boun Khao Salak (Rice) (Around 7th Sep.)
This is for offerings to be made for dead ancestors to obtain merit. Popular and exciting longboat-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 and Boat Racing Festival (Around 7-8th Oct.)
The festival is 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, candlelight processions are held at temples and hundreds of colorful 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 Province, a popular and exciting boat racing competition is held to celebrate along the Mekong River and its tributaries.

“Naga Rockets”, 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 rockets can be spotted where the Nam Ngum and the Mekong river meet in Thaprabath district, Bolikhamxai province, as well as in Pak Ngum district, 60 km east of Vientiane.

November

That Luang Festival and Trade Fair in Vientiane Capital (Between 15 – 25th )
This religious festival is held in and around That Luang Stupa, the National Symbol of Laos, where hundreds of monks gather to accept alms and floral votives from the people. The festival includes a grand fireworks display at night.  

   


During the day, an international trade fair, showcasing tourism in Laos and other countries from ASEAN as well as the Greater Mekong Sub-region. During the same period a similar festival is also celebrated at Ching Tim Stupa in Luang Namtha Province.

Hmong New Year

Celebrated in Oudomxay, Sayaboury, Xieng Khouang, Luang Prabang and Vientiane Provinces, the Hmong New Year features colorful displays, traditional costumes (made from green, red and white silk) and ornate silver jewelry.

 

Music from traditional Hmong instruments such as the teun-flute (Hmong-style khene pipe) and leaf blowing is performed in public grounds. Other festivities include the Makkhon (cotton-ball) throwing ceremony, ox fighting spinning-top races and crossbow demonstrations.

 

SEEING IS BELIEVING

If you would like to come, join and celebrate the wonderful and unforgettable festivals with our people, please feel free to contact us anytime. We will help you to fulfill your dream!!!  

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License 651/LNTA
104/1 Thongkhankham Rd , Unit 10, Ban Thongkhankham, Chanthaburi District,

Vientiane Capital, Laos PDR 10922
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Mobile : (856-20) 2484444
E-mail: laohomestay@etllao.com

 

 


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