By Darren On The Road, via Wikimedia Commons
How long until Lao New Year?
|This holiday next takes place in 54 Days.|
Dates of Lao New Year
|Celebrated for three days, this is the most important festival in Laos|
Lao New Year is usually a three day public holiday in Lao. In Lao, it is called 'Songkran' or 'Pii Mai', which means 'new year'.
It is based on the traditional solar new year, that was observed in parts of India and Asia. It falls on either 13 April or 14 April.
The Lao new year is marked by the sun entering the sign of Aries the Ram. This particular event was traditionally closely related to the Vernal Equinox. In ancient times, the dates of the sun entering Aries and the Vernal Equinox would have been even closer, but they have shifted due to an effect called procession, where the Earth wobbles on its axis over a 25,000 year period.
New Year celebration in Lao last for four days, though the traditions and customs are similar to Songkran, Thai New Year.
This is the last day of the old year. Statues of Buddha images are cleaned with water and people throw water at each other, to 'wash away' any bad will that related to the past year.
The second day is known as the 'day of no day", a day that falls in neither the old year or the new year. People parade to the local monasteries to hear a services from the monks. A popular highlight of the day is the parade featuring the winner of the Miss New Year beauty pageant.
This is the first day of the New Year. Begins with an early morning procession of monks and alms giving or tak bat.
Many people in Lao believe in kwan (spirits which live inside humans, animals, plants and inanimate objects). On the first day of the new year, the tradition is that the kwan might leave the body and be exposed to bad omens for the coming year. To make sure the kwan return to the body, a ceremony called Baci is performed. Chant are made by a village elder to make the kwan return to the body. then white thread is tied around wrists to keep the kwan inside and wish the kwan good luck for the year ahead.
The most sacred images of Buddha images are put on temporary display and people will dress in their finest traditional clothes and make offerings to ask for good luck in the coming year.