Festivals


January
Boun Khouan Khao is a harvest festival featuring rituals of thanksgiving to the spirit of the land.

February
Boun Khao Chee is a morning temple ceremony at which a special sticky rice bread is offered to the monks.

March
Boun Phra Wet commemorates King Vessanthara’s reincarnation as the Buddha. Fortune-telling is a highlight of this three day festival.

April
13-16 Lao New Year (Boun Pee Mai or Koud Song Kane) From the washing of Buddha images to the drenching of friends and strangers, water is central to the Lao New Year festival. Be sure to visit temple compounds as celebrants pour scented water over Buddha images, and expect to be ambushed - no one escapes the traditional water-throwing.

May
Boun Visakhabusa celebrates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. Boun Bang Fai, the Rocket Festival, is a call to the spirits for rain and a celebration of fertility. After a morning temple ceremony, people gather in fields on the outskirts of villages to launch brightly decorated bamboo rockets.

July
Boun Khao Phansaa is the first day of Buddhist Lent. During these three months, new couples are not allowed to marry.

September
Boun Khao Padabdine is an early morning temple ceremony honoring the ancestors. Boun Khao Salak is another opportunity to make offerings to the dead and to share merit with them.

October
Boun Ok Phansaa is the final and most important day of Buddhist Lent. Boun Souang Heua, the boat racing festival, is held the day after.

November
Boun That Luang, is a festival celebrating That Luang Stupa at the time of the full moon. The festival begins with a solemn, pre-dawn gathering of thousands of faithful pilgrims. These devotees give offerings and listen to prayers chanted by the monks who represent every temple in Laos. Throughout the preceding week, a combined trade fair and carnival offers food and handicraft stalls, concerts, dance shows and comedy acts.

December
Boun Kin Chieng, is the New Year Festival of Lao Soung (Hmong).