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 Luang Prabang Festivals & Events

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Posts : 12
Join date : 2010-11-22

PostSubject: Luang Prabang Festivals & Events   Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:39 am

The main annual events in Luang Prabang are religious in nature, with the Buddhist calendar being closely followed. These religious celebrations are an excellent opportunity for visitors to witness local customs and traditions, and to learn more about Lao culture. Visitors are welcome to participate in most events, especially Pi Mai, when friendly water fights between locals and foreigners are common.
Khoun Khao: this nationwide two-day harvest festival sees locals making offerings to the spirit of the land. Appeasements are made to give thanks and ensure fruitful harvests in the future. Visitors wishing to observe the ceremonies involved in this festival should visit the city’s temples or outlying villages.
Magha Puja: this important Buddhist festival sees monks and worshippers circle the city’s temples, chant and make offerings. The day marks a sermon once given by the Buddha, which outlined monastic regulations. Celebrations are more fervent in the capital Vientiane, but can nevertheless be enjoyed in Luang Prabang
Vietnamese Tet: celebrated mostly by those of Vietnamese or Chinese origin, this three-day New Year celebration is marked with fireworks and parties, as well as visits to temples. Traditionally the festival marks the arrival of spring and is a time to spend with family and friends. International Women’s Day: held annually on 8th March, this day celebrates the achievements of women through cultural events, exhibitions and festivities.
Pi Mai: lasting for three days in mid-April, Lao New Year offers the perfect chance to cool down from the heat. The festival involves water throwing, signifying purification, and making offerings at temples. Tourists are welcome to join in the fun and should not be offended if a local splashes water over them. Luang Prabang also commonly has an elephant parade during Pi Mai celebrations.
Visakha Puja: also known as Visakhabuxa, this ceremonial celebration commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. The religious ceremonies associated with this festival are best seen at the city’s temples.
Bang Fai: also sometimes referred to as the Rocket Festival, this two-day religious event marks the start of the agricultural season. Highlights are the firing of decorated bamboo rockets into the sky, followed by musical performances and dancing. It is thought the firing of rockets acts as a reminder to the gods to start the rains, which water the rice fields.
Khao Phansaa: the start of Buddhist lent marks the beginning of the rainy season and a three-month period when monks must stay in their temples. At other times of the year, monks are allowed to travel between temples. During Buddhist lent they must stay at a single temple, partly to prevent any damage to the rice field during the wet season.
International Children’s Day: celebrated on 1 June with activities devoted to the welfare of children. The day is commonly marked with games, music and dramatic performances organised by local and international organizations.
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