Source: Vientiane Times
The government has announced that two days will be added to the official three-day Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) festival, bringing the total to five days.
April 17 and 18 have been declared public holidays to compensate for the fact that two days of the three-day holiday (April 14, 15 and 16) fall on Saturday and Sunday.
The Prime Minister’s Office issued the announcement yesterday.
The announcement called for members of the public to celebrate the new year in ways that centred on traditional customs and cohesive solidarity.
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The Prime Minister’s Office urged everyone to celebrate the nation’s biggest festive event in a joyful manner, while preserving Lao customs and culture and refraining from conspicuous consumption.
The Lao people take the opportunity of Pi Mai Lao to extend best wishes to their parents, elderly relatives and friends.
The announcement entrusted the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Vientiane and provincial administrations to ensure that sufficient food and other goods were available in local markets during this time of peak demand.
Authorities in charge were told to take action to monitor and regulate the price of goods to prevent vendors from raising prices to an unreasonable level.
The Prime Minister’s Office asked central and local authorities to do more to maintain security and order.
The Ministry of Public Security was told to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and their local departments to facilitate road transport and travel and ensure traffic safety in an attempt to prevent road accidents.
The Prime Minister’s Office assigned the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to raise public awareness of the traffic rules and road safety to ensure safe travel.
The ministry was told to work in collaboration with central and local authorities to raise public awareness so that people from all walks of life celebrate the Lao New Year in ways that preserve and promote Lao culture and customs, while also acknowledging Visit Laos Year 2018.
The Lao New Year is one of the most important festivals in the Lao calendar. It is a time of celebration and endless fun and celebrates Lao identity.
Highlights of the annual festival include pouring water on Buddha images, and cleaning houses from top to bottom. Young people pour water on the hands of their elders and ask for their blessings for the year ahead. The blessing of relatives, friends and even strangers with water continues throughout the festival.