Laos is a land of festivals and celebrations. Most of festivals are usually linked to agricultural seasons or historical Buddhist holidays.
Bun Pha Wet festival
Falling on different dates each year – people exchange invitations with friends and families in different villages to join in their celebrations – this festival is a commemoration of the Jataka, the life story of Lord Buddha as Prince Vestsantara. The story is recited in temples throughout the country and this is considered a particularly auspicious time for ordination as a monk.
This day is celebrated on the full moon of the third lunar month and commemorates the preaching of Buddha to the 1250 enlightened monks who came to hear him “without prior summons”. It involves a vien tien – a candlelight procession – around most wats.
Vietnamese Tet & Chinese New Year
Celebrated in Vientiane, Pakse and Savannakhet by the larger Vietnamese and Chinese communities who close their businesses for several days during this period, this festival combines visits to temples and merit making with noisy parties, and hundreds of strings of firecrackers.
This religious festival takes place in the province of Khammouant five hours drive south of Vientiane, on February 5 to February 8 at the Sikhottabong stupa, located about 6 km south of Thakhek.
Wat Phu festival
This religious festival is held at the pre-Angkorian Wat Phu site every year in Champassak province about 10 hours drive south of Vientiane. It is held on the full moon of the 3rd month of lunar calendar (in 2012 it falls on 6-8 February). A trade fair of products from the southern province of Laos,Thailand,Cambodiaand Vietnam is also held.
The elephant festival is organized annually in Xayaboury province. More than 50 elephants and their mahouts from around the area gather to demonstrate working techniques and all things elephantine.