The Laos water festival, also known as “Pi Mai Lao”, is one of the most important and widely celebrated festivals in Laos. This three-day festival is held annually in mid-April and is a time of great joy and merrymaking for the people of Laos. If you’re planning a trip to Laos in 2023, here’s everything you need to know about the Laos water festival.
When is the Laos Water Festival?
The Laos water festival is celebrated from 13th April to 15th April every year. The festival is timed to coincide with the Lao New Year, which is based on the Buddhist lunar calendar.
What is the Laos Water Festival?
The Laos water festival is a celebration of the Lao New Year and is a time for people to cleanse themselves of bad luck and misfortune from the previous year. The festival is also a time for people to pay respect to their ancestors and offer blessings to the Buddha.
The highlight of the festival is the water throwing or “Sabaidee” ritual. During this ritual, people splash water on each other, symbolizing the washing away of bad luck and sins, and the welcoming of the New Year with purity and good luck. People also visit temples, offer food to the monks, and make offerings to Buddha statues during the festival.
Where is the Laos Water Festival Celebrated?
The Laos water festival is celebrated throughout the country, but some of the best celebrations can be found in the capital city of Vientiane and the cultural city of Luang Prabang. Other popular locations for the festival include the southern city of Pakse, the northern city of Luang Namtha, and the central city of Savannakhet.
What to Expect During the Laos Water Festival?
During the festival, the streets are filled with people in colorful traditional dress, and music and dance performances can be seen throughout the city. The water throwing ritual is the highlight of the festival, and people can expect to get soaked, so it’s a good idea to wear clothes that can dry quickly.
Many restaurants and street vendors offer traditional Lao dishes, such as “larb” (spicy minced meat salad), “tam mak hoong” (spicy papaya salad), and “khaiphaen” (dried riverweed). The festival is also a time for people to drink “lao-lao” (rice wine), a popular local alcoholic beverage.
Tips for Visitors
If you’re planning to visit Laos during the water festival, there are a few things to keep in mind. It’s important to respect local customs and traditions and dress appropriately. Women should avoid wearing revealing clothing, and it’s also considered disrespectful to wear shoes inside temples.
It’s a good idea to bring a waterproof bag or cover for your phone and camera to protect them from getting wet during the water throwing ritual. Visitors should also be aware that many businesses and services may be closed during the festival.
The Laos water festival is a vibrant and exciting celebration of the Lao New Year, and an experience not to be missed for visitors to Laos. With its colorful traditional dress, delicious food, and joyful water throwing ritual, the Laos water festival is a unique and unforgettable experience that showcases the rich culture and traditions of Laos