Alms giving is the respect given by a lay Buddhist to a Buddhist monk. During this process, locals believe that this will help in making merit for your future as well as your loved ones who have passed away and even for your afterlife as well. It is not restricted to only Buddhist believers.
At 5:30 am each morning, hundreds of monks leave their respective temples. Bare feet padding softly on the sidewalks, they are in a walking meditation. Traversing the streets of Salana Boutique Hotel in long, straight lines, carrying their heavy alms bowls over one shoulder, it is time for the daily almsgiving.
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♦OCTOBER EVENTS VIENTIANE♦
♦NOVEMBER EVENTS VIENTIANE♦
Boun Pha That Luang is the most meaningful festival in Vientiane Capital as well as in the Lao PDR. It is held over three to seven days during the full moon of the twenty-fifth lunar month (November, but sometimes it is at the end of October). The festival starts with a colorful candlelight wax castle (Phasat Pheung) procession which starts the evening before at Vat Simeuang. The procession continues to the next afternoon from Vat Simeuang to Pha That Luang. People carry flowers, candles, incense and wax castles decorated with flowers and bank notes. People wear their best clothes for this procession and there is also a parade of the men and women dressed in various Loa ethnic costumes who dance and play traditional music and songs while approaching the stupa. The s-called wax castles have been a part of Lao lifestyle for many years, and bringing one to Pha that Luang on this occasion is believed to bring considerable merit.
The following morning, a huge crowd assembles at dawn at Pha That Luang to give alms to hundreds of monks who come here from around the country, and to play homage to the stupa. In the afternoon, everyone will gather on the esplanade for the traditional game of Ti Khee, which is played with a ball and long curved stick, resembling a game of hockey. The festival draws to close under a full moon when people from all over Laos will crowd around Pha That Luang for one last candlelight procession. There are also fire work displays to make the end of the celebration. During the Pha That Luang stupa festival, there are trade fairs, concerts and fun fairs held.
The date of Boun Bung Fai, or the Lao Rocket Festival varies by region and sometimes by village. Festivals take place in May, June and July. Villagers ask the spirits to end the hot season and bring on the rains by launching homemade rockets. Winners are those whose rockets fly highest and burn brightest. Losers are thrown in the mud. Spectators watch the show, hear the judges remarks and eat and drink.
Pi Mai Lao New Year begins at the same time each year and lasts for three days (April 14th-16th). It is one of the most important dates in the calendar as well as being a time of celebrate and endless fun. The festival is held before the onset of the rainy season to recognize the importance of water in people’s lives. It has also become synonymous with holiday, the celebration of Lao identity, the reinforcement of family bonds and an opportunity to reflect on the year ahead. Lao New Year celebrate in all Provinces
The first day (14th) is the last day of the old year. House and villages are properly cleaned on the first day. Perfume, water and flowers are also prepared for the Lao New Year. Buddhist images are taken out of the temples to be cleaned with scented water by devotees, and placed on special temporary altars within the compounds of Vats (temples). Devotees gather the scented water falling of the images to take home and use it to pour on friends and relatives, as an act of cleansing and purification before entering the New Year. The second day (15th) of the festival is the “day of no day”, a day that falls in neither the old year nor the New Year. The last day (16th) of the festival marks the start of the New Year. In the evening of the 16th, the images are returned to their proper shrines within the temples. Throughout the three days of the festival, a lot of meaningful and joyful activities are held nationwide, mainly basic or Soo Kwan (tying cotton strings around people’s wrists), water splashing, sand stupa building and a beauty pageant.