Boun Hor Khao Salak or Horkhaosalak Festival

Introduction: Buddhists request forgiveness at today’s Boun Hor Khao Salak or Horkhaosalak Festival. The faithful get up early to take gift baskets to the temple by 7am. Offerings may include fruits, rice or flowers, varying from family to family.

Though Buddha departed from our world more than 2,500 years ago, his teachings remain to remind followers to make merit for themselves and their ancestors on important days in the Buddhist calendar. Our news team prepared the following story.

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Story: Boun Hor Khao Salak or Horkhaosalak Festival celebrates the deceased. It takes place 15 days after haw khao padap din, on the full moon of the 10th month of the Lao calendar.

For this celebration, offerings to the dead are passed to monks during the morning ceremony at the temple, just after takbat. A basket is filled with food and daily amenities such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc. along with the names of the dead persons the family wishes to honor.

The monk or novice who receives the basket, then draws, salak, the names from the basket. He calls to each dead person and transfers the things through prayers.

Afterwards, the items are shared among the monks and novices. After their needs are met, the remaining items are stored for future use, contributed to a local school or hospital, or distributed to needy people. It depends on the head monk’s decision at each temple.

After the salak, the ceremony continues with the acceptance of the Five Precepts, and the chanting in Pali from Buddhist texts.

At haw khao padap din and/or haw khao salak, some families prepare a special tray or basket with bowls of the deceased’s favorite foods. This is called pha khao thip. The food is eaten by the monk receiving the tray who transmits the giver’s merit to the honored dead.

In the evening at 7 or 8 o’clock, is vien thien, a candlelit procession. First, the head monk at the temple chants from the Buddhist texts. Then lay people walk in a clockwise direction three times around the sim.

Source: Lao National Television News in English
Broadcast on September 08, 2014