Leaders, government officials and Lao people around the country celebrated the Lao New Year festival from April 14-16, taking part in a range of activities to preserve the fine traditions and culture of the country.
The highlight in Vientiane was the Nang Sang Khan (Miss Lao New Year) procession, which started early in the afternoon on April 14 and was attended by several thousand Vientiane residents.
The parade began at Vat Inpeng in Chanthabouly district before marching down Samsenthai Road to Vat Simeuang in Sisattanak district, Vientiane. It then looped back via Setthathirath Road to return to Vat Inpeng.
Also marching in the parade were various government officials and Vientiane authorities led by Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad and Mayor of Vientiane Mr Soukanh Mahalath.
There were also smaller processions of monks with Buddha images, accompanied by traditional performing arts performances.
The Miss Lao New Year procession began at Vat Inpeng to give devotees a chance to attend a Buddhist ceremony at the shrine inside the temple.
Those marching in the procession came mostly from Sisattanak and Chanthabouly districts, among other districts in the capital.
The weather was hot for the parade but people along Samsenthai and Setthathirath roads sprayed water on the participants to keep them cool.
Ms Bounlieng Xaypanya, a parade participant from Xaythany district, said this was the first year she had been in the Nang Sang Khan procession and she had also been able to see her friends.
“It’s really great for me to be able to attend the parade because I am from Xaythany district, which is quite far from here. I have been thinking of participating in the event for many years but transportation was a problem,” Ms Bounlieng said.
She said if she had a chance next year she would join the parade again.
“I hope young people will carry on preserving our traditions and culture forever and to be mindful when drinking and driving as well,” she said.
Similar Miss Lao New Year processions were held on the same day in Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, Vientiane and Champassak provinces.
The Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong joined Lao New Year celebrations in Luang Prabang province.
The festival saw Lao families holding traditional baci ceremonies. Young people paid respect to their parents and elderly people through wishing them wealth, good health and longevity.
Some people working in the provinces or different countries take a week-long holiday to return home and take part in family reunions.
At Don Chan beach in Vientiane, people took part in sports like volleyball, sepak takraw and horse riding.
This year, the government has also asked people to celebrate the Lao New Year economically and told government or ganisations to refrain from spending state budget on parties.
Source: Vientiane Times
By Bounfaeng Phaymanivong
April 17, 2014