People throughout Laos enjoyed spending time with their families and friends during the holiday to celebrate Pi Mai Lao or Lao New Year from April 14-16. Not only Lao people but also foreign visitors had fun splashing water on one another to escape the heat and show their goodwill. Details with our news team on a special report celebrating Boun Pii Mai Lao.
Lao New Year began on April 14, but many government offices and private companies held a party or baci ceremony before the event to extend best wishes to one another. Traditionally, people pour water on one another as a way to offer best wishes for good heath and success.
Temples were crowded with people, not only Lao Buddhists but also foreigners of other religions. It was observed that more people visited temples to make merit. They poured perfumed water over Buddha images and some then collected this water to splash on their heads for good luck. More young people than in recent years made merit at temples by participating in activities such as freeing caged birds.
Some people asked monks to tie string around their wrists and chant blessings, to dispel all the bad luck of the old year and bring good fortune in the future.
During the Lao New Year, businesses were closed as everyone wanted to party and unwind after a hard year of work. Despite rising inflation and high food prices, people still hosted parties and offered food to friends and relatives, an indication of improving living conditions.
Pi Mai Lao is a special occasion, which allows friends and family to strengthen their relationships, and many people living in Vientiane took the opportunity to visit their hometowns.
Young people also used the occasion to hold somma ceremonies to ask for forgiveness for any inappropriate actions towards their parents, grandparents and other elders.
April is the hottest month of the year in Laos, which explains why no one really minds being constantly wet from the water that is hurled from all directions. In many provinces, the celebrations featured a Nang Sang Khan procession, when each year a young woman is chosen to represent one of the seven daughters of the legendary King Kabinlaphom.
Roadsides in Vientiane were transformed into makeshift music stages as people held parties outside their house. Most of them were youngsters who danced together in time with the music. However, this year’s celebrations were more in line with tradition thanks to the government’s campaign to promote safety.
Vientiane was abuzz with activity as dance music echoed throughout the city. The police worked hard to ensure public security during the holiday.
LNTV Lao News broadcast on 15/4/2013