Thousands To Attend Vientiane City Pillar Shrine Consecration

Some 2,500 to 3,000 people from across the country are expected to attend the official consecration ceremony of the Vientiane City Pillar Shrine this week, government officials say. Participants will include leaders, officials, local residents and others who recognise the historical and cultural significance of the city pillar.

A consecration ceremony for the Vientiane City Pillar Shrine will take place this week, in honour of the city of Vientiane and its former founders and defenders.

The committee responsible has scheduled the ceremony for November 15 to 17, which corresponds to the second to fourth days of the waxing moon, after the new moon appears on November 13.

Deputy Director of the Heritage Department and committee member Mr Viengkeo Souksavady explained the significance of the ceremony.

“The idea behind consecration is to make something sacred and respected. During the ceremony, monks will pray day and night, concentrating on the spirit and teachings of the Buddha, dharma, and the respect of monks and lay-people for this special place.”

The activities will include religious ceremonies and traditional celebrations. Items of value will be placed on and around the city pillar, and worshippers can donate nine special traditional merit-making items to the monks. In return, they will receive blessings and special items such as wooden statues of Buddha, models of the city pillar, and books describing the history of the shrine.

There will also be a photo and artefact exhibition and performances of traditional music, while film screenings run every evening over the three days of the ceremony.

The event will also receive live radio and television airtime, starting on the afternoon of November 16. The official ceremony will start at 4pm the same day, attended by Party and government officials. Speeches will be made and a religious ceremony will follow.

A total of 99 monks from across the country are expected to come to Vientiane for the almsgiving ceremony which will take place on the morning of November 17, to be attended by President Choummaly Sayasone.

The committee charged with organising the event met yesterday at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to discuss the details of the ceremony.

The shrine is located on Setthathirath Road in Phiavat village, Sisattanak district. It was built on the spot where 473 stone city pillar fragments dating back to the 4th or 5th century were recently unearthed along with other artefacts.

Construction of the Vientiane City Pillar Shrine began in 2010 but was delayed because of problems relating to the original design. Revised plans were drawn up but required the approval of higher authorities. The organising committee issues an open invitation to everyone to attend the ceremony.

published with the permission of Vientiane Times