Getting to Laos
Bordered with 5 countries there are many ways to get into Laos and you can be as adventurous as you dare.
The traditional Lao calendar is a solar-lunar mixed. The year itself is a rocketed by solar phases while the months are divided according to lunar phases. The Lao Buddhist Era (BE) calendar started in 638 BC.
Festivals in Laos are largely linked to agricultural seasons or historical Buddhist holidays and the general word for festival in Lao is "BOUN." In general lao people like to party and they enjoy festivals as long as possible. Some of the festivals - like the new year - inofficially start a few days earlier and go on for about a week. If you want to have fun instead of sightseeing you should choose the Pi Mai festival...
International New Year's Day is celebrated in Laos as well
January-February festival in Laos
Boun Pha Vet:
This temple centered festival cerebrate the birth of Prince Vessanthara, the Buddha's penultimate existance. The jataka or birth story of Buddha is recited. This is the favored time for Lao men to become ordained as a monk. Festivities are staggered between villages so that different villages can visit one another to their celebrations.
February festival in Laos
Boun Ma Kha Bu Saar (Full Moon)
This celebration commenorates a speech given by the Buddha in which he laid down the first monastic regulations and predicted his own death. The speech was heard by 1250 enlightened monks who arrived without prior summons. The festival is to celebrate with chanting and presenting offering carious Vat throughout the country. The biggest celebrations take place at the Khmer ruins of Vat Phu Champasack.
Boun Khoun Khao:
Harvest festival are cerebrated in various villages throughout the month.
April festival in Laos
Boun Pi Mai : Pi Mai means "new year" and it is the time when the Lao cerebrates the start of their Lunar calendar year. Practically, the entry country grinds to a half for the festivities. Houses are cleaned, people wear new clothes and Buddha images are washed with holy water and this festival makes one of the best time to visit Laos.
May festival - Laos
Boun Visakha Bu Saar (Full Moon):
Starting on the day of the sixth lunar month, this cerebration commemorates the birth, enlightenment and parinibbana (death) of Buddha. The festival is based and visitors can see chanting and sermonizing at night followed by beautiful candlelight processions.
Boun Bang Fai "Rocket Festival":
Various villages throughout the country take part in one that most boisterous festivals on the Lao calendar. This festival dated back to pre-Buddhist times and featuring home made rockets that are fired into the clouds to ask for rain as well as it amidst a great deal of raucous chanting and merry making.
Boun Haw Khao Salaack (Full Moon): Held during the 10th full moon of the lunar calendar, this festival is a celebration and a remembrance of the dead. During this festival, the Lao make offerings to the monks at the local Wat on behalf of deceased ancestors. Participant gives "good merits" to the devotes. Most of the people go to the temple early this day, with offering to the monks. Large food trays are brought to the monks, with several "best" dishes that families can cook.
All the people will bring that offerings with a piece of papers talking about ancestors that will be read publicly.
October festival in Laos
Boun Ok Phansa and Boat Racing Festival
The festival held after the end of the monks’ three-month fast and retreat during the rainy season (Boun Khao Pansa). At dawn on the first day, donations and offerings are made at temples around the city. In the evening, candlelight processions are held at temples and hundreds of colorful floats decorated with flowers, incense and candles are set adrift down the Mekong River to pay respect to the river spirit. The following day in Vientiane, Savannakhet and Champasack Province, a popular and exciting boat racing competition is held to celebrate the Mekong River.
This festival begins immediately after the last day of Lent, and lasts until the next full moon. During the one month period, devotes of the Buddhist faith help the monks to carry out their religious practice by making offerings of all their 9 requisites and other useful items.
November festival in Laos
That Luang Festival and Trade Fair in Vientiane Capital
This religious festival is held in and around That Luang Stupa, the National Symbol of Laos, where hundreds of monks gather to accept alms and floral votives from the people. The festival includes a grand fireworks display at night. During the day, an international trade fair, showcasing tourism in Laos and other countries from ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Sub-region. During the same period a similar festival is also celebrated at Ching Tim Stupa in Luang Namtha Province.