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People nationwide welcome the Year of the Rooster

People from all walks of life both nationwide and abroad have celebrated Pi Mai Lao and welcomed the New Year as the Year of Rooster.

The three days of festivity saw millions of people celebrate outside their homes despite temperatures rising to nearly 40 degrees and some of those days bringing rain, especially in Vientiane.

Meanwhile, many of the country's foreign visitors also enjoyed the celebration of Pi Mai Lao , sometimes known as the Water Festival, with others in the land of a million elephants.

In the nation's capital the main streets including Setthathirath, Samsenthai and Chao Fa Ngum Roads were jam packed with people who congregated in the area for four days of good spirited water splashing.

On Don Chan Beach, which was more crowded than previous years, there were many other activities on offer for festival goers during the extended holidays.

There were three special entertainment zones created for folks who took part in the celebrations and any of those who became overheated could also take a refreshing dip in the Mekong.

Temples nationwide saw the usual influx of people following the age old tradition of Song Nam Pha , which involves pouring water over Buddha images. This family-centred event sees groups driving from place to place with the aim of visiting at least nine temples in the belief that this will bring good luck during the coming year.

Some families organised parties at home and hosted Baci and Somma ceremonies to pay respect for and show gratitude to older family members. Another highlight of this year's Pi Mai Lao celebrations were the colourful Nang Sang Khan (Miss Pi Mai Lao ) processions that took place in several provinces including Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, Khammuan, Huaphan, Xekong and Champassak, although in the capital city, they replaced their Nang Sang Khan parade with their own Buddha image procession.

Lao New Year is a popular English name for a traditional celebration known in Laos as Pi Mai in the Lao language. Lao New Year is the most widely celebrated festival in Laos. The festival is also celebrated by Lao in the United States of America, Canada, France, England and Australia. Lao New Year takes place in April, the hottest time of the year in Laos, which is also the start of the monsoon season. Lao New Year takes place at roughly the same time as the new year celebrations of many countries in South Asia like India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

The Water Festival is a part of New Year celebrations that take place in other east and Southeast Asian countries such as China, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand that are also mainly Theravada Bhuddist. It is called the water festival by westerners because people splash / pour water at one another as part of the cleansing ritual to welcome the new year. Traditionally people gently sprinkled water on one another as a sign of respect, but as the new year falls during the hottest month in South East Asia, many people end up dousing strangers and passersby in vehicles in boisterous celebration. The act of pouring water is also a show of blessings and good wishes. It is believed that on this water festival, everything old must be thrown away, or it will bring the owner bad luck.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 18, 2017)

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