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Luang Prabang Events

  • Lao New Year

    Lao New Year

    Lao New Year is known as Bpee Mai or Songkan and it's the biggest and most exuberant celebration of the year for both Laotian people and tourists to Laos, who invariably get roped into the festivities. New Year takes place on the cusp of the Monsoon season, at the hottest time of the year. In a bid to invoke the rain, and to cool off from the heat, water is thrown, sprayed, tossed and fired at everyone for the three days of the festival. Expect to get wet - frequently! These water fights are great fun and very good-natured and the most popular aspect of the festival for visitors, particularly as the heat is oppressive at this time of year (April). Don't be surprised if cream and powder also feature in the water fights. By drenching somebody you are wishing them good fortune for the new year so don't be shy. Flowers are used to decorate Buddhas and there is a tradition of setting animals free during this festival. It is also important to the Lao people that homes are ritually cleaned during the festival. Although many people spend their days at worship in the temples, there is a lot of singing, dancing and celebrating to be enjoyed at night. Beauty pageants are also held around the country, with Luang Prabang hosting the best.

  • Luang Prabang Alms Ceremony

    Luang Prabang Alms Ceremony

    The main attraction in Luang Prabang is the morning Alms Ceremony. Male Laotians from across the country come to Luang Prabang to study Buddhism for at least a year at some point in their life. As such the city is teeming with men and boys dressed in their saffron-coloured robes. Every morning before sunrise the monks proceed through the village along the main street collecting alms for their consumption for the day ahead. This ancient and ritualised ceremony is a sight to behold and a great photo opportunity for those willing to wake up before dawn to go out and see it. Tourists are able to buy rice and foods to give to the monks. Be sure to buy fresh food as there have been scams in the past where market vendors sell old or stale leftovers to naïve tourists. Remember the ceremony is a serious and holy event so be respectful at all times, particularly if you are taking pictures. Women should dress conservatively and it is considered extremely rude to come into physical contact with a monk, especially if you are a woman. The procession is a solemn and silent affair which is sometimes embarrassingly ruined by ignorant or pushy tourists.

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