Through its traditional Lao New Year Celebration event
held on April 13th evening at the National Defense
Convention Center Seoul, Laos Amb. Keodalavong wished
more close cooperation & partnerships between Korea &
Laos in the coming years.
Among some dignitaries, Myanmar Amb. Maung, Vietnam
Amb. Vu Tu & Mme, Cambodia Amb. Dimanche LONG, and
last but not least Rwanda Amb. Isumbingabo Emmafrancoise
Through his welcome remarks, Laos Amb. Keodalavong said: "
On this auspicious occasion of the forthcoming Lao New Year,
I would like to take this opportunity to wish Excellencies,
distinguished guests attending this event today, all Lao
citizen who are working, studying, researching, training and
living in the Republic of Korea as well as Lao people in
worldwide, especially people and Government of Laos and
Korean people a happiness, good health, prosperity and
Since the Lao PDR and the Republic of Korea established
diplomatic relations on October 25, 1995, the relationship
and cooperation between our two countries have been
continuously strengthened, expanded and developed,
which show the regularly exchanged visit of high ranking
delegations and the cooperation in the fields of socio-economic,
trade, investment and tourism as well as mutual assistance
Laos Amb. (left, green colour) praying with his spouse
for the wellbeing & prosperity of each other during the fete.
This major holiday is celebrated by nearly every Lao family.
Lao New Year is commonly referred to as Pii Mai or Songkran.
For most Lao people, this holiday is celebrated from April
14 to April 16. In some areas of Laos, the festival can go on
for an entire week. For the standard three-day celebration, the first day of the festival is New Year’s Eve, and the last day marks the beginning of the new year.
According to Lao traditions, the second day of the festival
is in between the new and old years. For most people, Lao
New Year is a time of joy and new beginnings.
Because of Laos’ rich history and Buddhist practices, Lao
New Year is observed with many traditions and celebratory activities.
To bring good fortune, Lao people often bring sand to temples
for the monks. At the temples, the monks create stupas, or
mounds of sand. These mounds of sand are decorated with
patterns of flowers and intricate carvings. Lao families may
also go to beaches to create their own stupas.
Laos Amb. (green colour) attending Laos traditional
New Year celebration with envoys & distinguished guests.
Cleansing with Water
On the second day of Lao New Year, school-age children are expected to cleanse their homes and
loved ones with water. After they douse their elders with
water, students go to temples to cleanse monks. The
cleansing water is often perfumed with flowers or cologne.
According to traditional Lao beliefs, this cleansing with water
promotes longevity and peace. After the elderly and monks
are cleansed, the students have some fun by dousing their
friends with water. Playful fights with water guns and
balloons are also common. Along with water cleansing,
homes are cleaned by families. This helps eliminate
the clutter from the past year.
Freedom to Animals
Since most Lao people are Theravada Buddhists, granting
freedom to animals is a common practice during Lao New
Year. In addition to freeing birds and other animals from
cages, monks will pray for the release of captive humans.
Like many other holidays, decorations are an important
aspect of Lao New Year. To show respect for Buddha,
monks in Lao temples will decorate images and statues
of Buddha with flowers. These flowers are always freshly
picked and washed before they are placed on a
representation of Buddha. This process is overseen by senior monks.
In the town of Luang Prabang, the Nansangkhan Beauty
Pageant is a popular New Year event. This contest consists
of seven female contestants who compete for the title of
Miss Pii Mai Lao. Other areas of Laos also host beauty
pageants during Lao New Year.
Dancing and Music
In small towns and villages, communities gather to sing
traditional songs. These songs are often accompanied by
instrumental music and circle dances.
While most holidays in East and Southeast Asia are not
oriented around food, Lao people enjoy hearty traditional
meals on the final day of the festival. One of the most
popular dishes consists of sticky rice with padaek. Padaek
is fermented fish sauce that is commonly eaten by Lao
families. This dish is usually served with roasted mushrooms.
Fish stews are also popular in Laos during New Year celebrations.
One of the most commonly heard greetings during Lao
New Year is sok di pai mai. It roughly translates into
English as happy New Year.
Lao New Year is a vibrant holiday that allows the people
of Laos to practice Buddhist traditions and enjoy some
time off from work with friends and family members.
(Source: Embassy of Laos)
Staff reporter Jung Jin-kyu firstname.lastname@example.org
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