Laos is famous as a country of festivals and celebrations. The Laotians love setting up a family gathering or friend party. For them, it is a great chance for all members to eat, drink, and have fun moments together. During a travel to Laos, the best way to learn the culture and tradition of this friendly country is to partake in a lot of the local festivals, which hold a major religious importance for locals. In general, festival dates can be often flexible, based on the lunar calendar. Spending time joining in these significant events allows you have a good understanding of the cultural norms as well as mingling with the chummy locals. Here are the top 5 festivals in Laos to experience the authentic local culture.
#1: Laos New Year (Boun Pi Mai) – April
Boun Pi Mai is considered the biggest festival of the year all around the country. This 3-day event generally revolves around cleansing the houses on the first day, giving offerings while going to the pagodas on the second day, as well as visiting friends and relatives for good luck on the third day. Excitingly, be prepared to get wet once you go out as throwing water has become popular during this festival. Don’t mind soaking up to the watery atmosphere with the locals and see how fun they are. See more on Bunpimay Festival Laos here!
#2: Rocket Festival (Boun Bang Fai) – May
In general, Rocket Festivals stand out as an important celebration when many different villages gather together and fire home-made rockets into the sky to call for the near-arrival of the rains because at that time of year, the country tends to be hot and dusty. Be prepared for big noise and crowds. Different villages are likely to compete for the best-decorated rockets and the highest distance. In Vientiane, the festival is usually held on the outskirts of the capital city with the aim of avoiding damaging property.
#3: Boun Ok Phansa Festival – October
Boun Ok Phansa is known as a mark of the end of Buddhist Lent. During 3 months of fasting, Buddhists must abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes for the purpose of honoring the months that the Buddha fasted before reaching enlightenment. After those months, monks come back their daily social activities as normal.
#4: Boat Racing Festival – October
The Laos boat racing festival is also one part of Boun Ok Phansa. In fact, there are many interesting activities for visitors to enjoy from the dawn until the evening at that time. In the morning, it is easy to notice the Buddhist ceremony when people offer food and donations to monks. In the evening, your eyebrows will be raised by the stunning candlelit processions held in the temples along with colorful floats of flowers, candles, and incense in the mighty Mekong River.
#5: That Luang Festival (Boun That Luang) – November
As one of the largest festivals in Vientiane, That Luang Festival attracts a number of both local and foreign visitors to the main temple every year. Lasting 3 days in November during the Full Moon, the prominent feature of the festival is the wax castle’s procession in the evening around Wat Si Muang. In fact, the purpose of this procession is to pay great homage to the Foundation Pillar of the city as well as the protectors of Vientiane and the Holy Spirit. The event tends to end with soothing music and colorful performance of fireworks, which symbolizes an offer of the light bunch to the Buddha. For those who are fond of Laos’s culture, participating in That Luang Festival is a wonderful opportunity to learn the country’s amazing civilization.
The top 5 famous festivals in Laos are surely worth participating in. While the festive atmosphere can be exciting, solemn, or inspiring, the ceremonies give you the different look of the country’s unique charm and culture. Go to experience any of the above events!