Luang Prabang Plans “Pi Mai 2023” Extravaganza

Source: Vientiane Times

Luang Prabang authorities have arranged an extensive programme of activities for the Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) festival, with events to take place over 10 days from April 11-20.

The festival will be celebrated on a much larger scale this year after activities were scaled down or cancelled in the past three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The official Lao New Year holiday normally runs from April 14-16, but events in Luang Prabang province will overrun this timeframe, the Director of the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Dr. Soudaphone Khomthavong, told the Vientiane Times.

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The programme of activities begins with the Nang Sang Khan contest on April 11-12, followed by an elephant procession from Vat Mai to Vat Xiengthong temples on April 13.

On April 14, temples across the province will display their Buddha images for devotees to pour water over in a show of reverence, while many people will head to the Mekong River to make sand stupas to bring good luck, as well as buy snacks and goods on sale at street fairs.

On April 15 there will be a traditional Lao New Year procession along Sisavangvong Road from Thatnoy temple to Xiengthong temple, and people will pour water over Buddha images and monks at temples in Luang Prabang city, in an added attempt to secure good fortune in the year ahead.

On April 16 the province’s leaders will assemble for a morning almsgiving ceremony and a procession along Sisavangvong Road in the reverse direction, from Xiengthong temple to Thatnoy temple. In the evening there will be a Naga lantern parade and a performance of traditional dances at the Royal Palace Museum.

On April 17, monks, provincial leaders, elders, and invited guests will assemble to carry the revered Prabang Buddha statue from the Royal Palace Museum to Vat Mai temple where holy water will be poured over the statue in an act of worship.

Provincial leaders will then accompany the seven Miss Lao New Year representatives to Tham Ting cave, where they will pour water over the collection of Buddha images that reside in the cave.

From April 18-19, the Prabang Buddha statue will continue to be on display for people to sprinkle water over before it is returned to Vat Mai temple on April 20.
Luang Prabang city’s old quarter was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1995 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which determined that its architecture was culturally significant and worthy of protection by the United Nations.

Other popular tourist attractions in Luang Prabang include the Phu Si stupa, Xiengthong temple, Sae waterfall, Kuangxi waterfall, and the night market.

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