Vientiane Gears Up For An Exciting Lao New Year

Source: Vientiane Times

People nationwide are eagerly anticipating the Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) festival (Year of the Rooster) next week, with the official holiday taking place from April 14-16.

Vientiane is preparing an exciting programme of activities for locals and visitors alike, including a Miss Vientiane contest on April 8, an arts show, a sandcastle building contest, and sports competitions on the sandy shores of the Mekong.

The highlight will be a parade of Buddha images but there will be no Miss Lao New Year (Nang Sangkhan) parade as in the past, Chanthabouly district Governor Ms Bualon Vongdalasaen told Vientiane Times yesterday

Vientiane won’t hold a Miss Lao New Year contest this time around because the authorities have not managed to prepare all the necessary equipment.

Instead, the Buddha image parade will give spectators the chance to pour water over the hallowed statues.

Most households will hold a Baci ceremony during the holiday, to bring good luck, prosperity and good health to the participants.

Baci ceremonies hold special importance for Lao people, and are an essential part of a housewarming party, New Year celebration, or wedding.

Five-day holiday announced for Lao New Year

Don Chan beach, alongside the limpid Mekong, will be the venue for several sports contests. This refreshing spot will also be the scene of performances by Lao and Thai musical acts, while thatched huts will provide a leisurely place for people to while away a pleasant hour or two.

People who take part in riverside activities will feel a sense of tradition as the main events here will uphold customary rituals.

The provinces are also gearing up for the holiday by planning events they think will be attractive to visitors from within the country and outside, with Luang Prabang taking the lead as usual.

The historic town will be pulling out all the stops with a fair on April 10, a Miss Lao New Year contest (Nang Sangkhan) on April 11-12, a Miss Lao New Year parade on April 15, and other activities planned for April 19.

Further south in the tourist hotspot of Vangvieng district, Vientiane province, visitors will be entertained with a traditional dancing and singing contest on April 13.

In the southern provinces, various forms of entertainment and other activities are also being prepared.

Authorities nationwide have appointed special committees to ensure the safety of visitors during the festival.

In addition, business owners in every province are preparing their hotels, guesthouses, resorts and restaurants to welcome the influx of people who are expected to descend and spend wads of cash during the long holiday, generating a healthy income for locals.