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Festivals and ceremonies are a common and important part of Lao
culture and life. Most celebrations are strongly linked to the Buddhist calendar and the rice farming cycle. Almost every month includes an event of some kind, and below you will find details about the bigger festivals that take place in Southern Laos. You are warmly welcome to participate, especially in lowland Buddhist ceremonies, but please respect the local codes of behaviour.

01/. Vat Phou Festival – Boun Vat Phou

ON JANUARY/ FEBRUARY  The Vat Phou Festival takes place every year on the 15th day of the waning moon of the third month (depending on the lunar calendar this is usually during the end of January or the beginning of February). It is one of the largest festivals in the entire country. People gather at the base of the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vat Phou, to pray, take part in various ceremonies and to enjoy the three-day festivities.

02/,Elephant Festival in Ban Kiet ngong

The elephant festival takes place the day before the annual ceremony held at the Phou Asa mountain temple in the village of Kiet Ngong. The activities include traditional parades, dances, and a blessing ceremony honouring the elephants.

03/, Lao New Year – Pii Mai Lao  
ON APRIL This is the biggest celebration of the year throughout
the country and is a fun event to take part in. Lao New Year is celebrated for three days in mid-April. The festival is based on the importance of water in people’s daily lives, and you will certainly get wet during this time. During Pii Mai, people splash water on one another to cleanse them of misfortune and bring luck
for the coming year. In the Wat, Buddha images are cleansed with sacred water and many Lao people make special offerings at the temples. During Pii Mai Lao most businesses and government offices are closed.

04/, Rocket festival – Boun Bang Fai

ON MAY/JUNE  During this festival giant rockets, constructed from
bamboo poles and stuffed with gunpowder, are launched into the sky to encourage the spirits to bring rain for the upcoming rice-growing season. The event is very exciting and loud bangs can be heard as the rockets explode. Traditionally, each village parades
the rockets to the temple and makes offerings before shooting them towards the sky.

05/,The start of Buddhist Lent – Boun Khao Pansa

ON JULY Held on the full moon, this festival marks the beginning
of Buddhist Lent. This is a three-month period where\ monks are ordained and required to stay in their temples to meditate and focus on Dharma studies to make merit for themselves and their parents.

06/, The end of Buddhist Lent – Boun Ork Pansa

ON OCTOBER Monks who were ordained during the three-months Lent
period leave their temples to reunite with their families. In the evening of this full moon festival, small banana leaf boats with offerings of candles, incense, and small amounts of money are set afloat onto rivers to bring good luck and prosperity.

07/, Boat racing festival – Boun Souang Heua

ON OCTOBER This festival is celebrated throughout the country and
is an important event in the Southern Laos calendar as it is meant to pay homage to the Mekong River for helping to sustain the lives of people who live along its banks. Teams from different villages and districts compete with each other, in long boats with up to twenty paddlers. Pakse is typically the biggest and the first location in the province.