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Lao New Year is back with even more colourful fun

Lao New Year or as it's called in Lao, Pi Mai Lao , is back again this week with more wet fun, including world class DJs, but is still looking to preserve the charm of its traditions.

People enjoy throwing water at passers-by to express their good wishes.

Pi Mai Lao will take place this year during April 14-16 where every corner of the roads in both Vientiane and other provinces will be soaked as people throw water at passers-by to express their good wishes.

Many of the streets residents play loud music and hold parties on footpaths to entertain friends and passers-by while crowds of people wearing colourful shirts gather at the Beer Lao Music Zone along Fa Ngum Road in Vientiane.

This year, other entertainment stages will be offered including the HydroZonic Water Festival presented by Heineken at the National Culture Hall, the Wave Party presented by Tuborg at Centre Point-Sihom on Samsenthai Road and the C-Thru Water Festival 2017 being held at the Vientiane Centre.

These stages will be presenting a mixture of world class DJs and live performances from popular Lao singers to entertain party- goers.

The other larger provinces will also enjoy parties on a main stage presented by Beer Lao and titled the Beer Lao Music Zone: Wet and Wild, taking place at Savan-ITECC in Savannakhet, at the Chitpasong Bus Station in Champassak and in the area of Dern That in Luang Prabang.

In contrast, Vientiane's official baci ceremony will take place at the Ongteu temple on the first day of the festival then later traditional activities will start such as the pouring of water on Buddha images, the release of caged birds and fish, as well as fortune telling and people asking monks to tie white strings on their wrists driving away bad luck from the old year and welcoming in the new one.

Luang Prabang province will add even more activities this year as it focuses on promoting Visit Laos Year 2018 by attempting to attract more domestic and foreign visitors.

Why do people celebrate New Year this month?

Most Lao people have respect for the Buddhist faith and they hold the day of the death of the Buddha to be the beginning of the New Year, being celebrated from April 14-16 this year.

Lao people always take into account the Buddhist calendar when they organise their special festivals, which is based largely around the cycles of the moon.

However, this month will not see a change from the Year of the Horse to the Year of the Rooster, which won't actually happen until May 24.

How should we celebrate Pi Mai Lao?

On the morning of the firs t day, Sangkhan Luang, the majority of people will hold baci ceremonies with their families to ask for forgiveness from their parents and elders. During the course of the day many people will go to temples to pour water on Buddha images. In asking for good luck in the year ahead, people will seek out the Buddha image which corresponds to the day on which they were born. The faithful will visit nine temples to pay their respects.

From April 14-16, Setthathirath and Fa Ngum roads will be the main places for people to gather and enjoy the revelry to the full.

During the three days of the festival at Vat Simeuang, you can attend baci ceremonies and pour water over the city pillar, on Buddha images and on Nga Mae (mother) Simeuang, who sacrificed herself for the city pillar.

All temples will be open from early in the morning until 6pm so that worshippers can pour water on Buddha images.

On the last day, Vat Ongteu will hold a baci and an almsgiving ceremony in the morning to bestow peace on participants and encourage them to ask for blessings and forgiveness.

From April 14-16, there will also be many activities on Don Chan Island along the Mekong River, including live bands, beach football and volleyball tournaments, cock fighting, and sand stupas.

Meanwhile DJs will keep the music pumping as people enjoy the festivities and have a splash, as will most shops and local residents.

The festival is all about having fun, loud music, dancing, drinking and getting wet as soon as you venture out onto the streets.



By Ounkham Pimmata
(Latest Update April 12, 2017 )

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