If you want to wish someone a happy birthday in Lao, it's 'Sook-san van koed' ສຸກສັນວັນເກີດ. The country itself celebrates its birthday on July 19 after gaining independence from France in 1949. Some things about Lao birthday celebrations might be familiar, and some will be new to you. Let's take a look.
|May all your wishes come true!||khohai khuaam padtha na khongchao kaipen ching||ຂໍໃຫ້ຄວາມປາດຖະ ໜາ ຂອງເຈົ້າກາຍເປັນຈິງ|
|Sending all my love||Kor song kouam hak tang mod kong koi hai jao||ສົ່ງຄວາມຮັກທັງົດຂອງຂ້ອຍ|
|Have a nice day||mi van thidi||ມີວັນທີ່ດີ|
|Happy birthday from my heart||Sook-san van koed jak houa jai||ສຸກສັນວັນເກີດຈາກຫົວໃຈຂອງຂ້ອຍ|
|Have a great one!||mian thi nyinghainy||ມີອັນທີ່ຍິ່ງໃຫຍ່!|
It is seen as bad luck to get your hair cut on your birthday because it may shorten your life span. This superstition probably comes from a similar place as the Chinese superstition of not cutting your hair around the Lunar new year because it is seen as cutting away your fortune.
As we already mentioned, the country of Laos declared itself free in 1949 (something the French didn't accept), but the story is much more complicated than that.
Lao was sandwiched between the Chinese, French and British empires, meaning it was often at the mercy of what these countries wanted to do with it. As a result, many wars were fought over the territory, with many people proclaiming independence at one time or another.
The accepted independence day is July 19, but it's very confusing because there's also another day called independence day on December 2, when the Communist republic was declared in 1975.
On independence day(s), expect to see banners unfurled and state-sponsored military parades complete with traditional dancing as well as plenty of flag-waving and a rendition of the national anthem: which begins
|For all time, the Lao people Have glorified their motherland, United in heart||Sāt Lāo tangtǣ daimā Lāo thuk thūan nā sœ̄t sū sutchai||ຊາດລາວຕັ້ງແຕ່ໃດມາລາວທຸກທົ່ວຫນ້າເຊີດຊູສຸດໃຈ|
|I hope you have a wonderful birthday.||khony vangva chao mi vankoed thi pasoed||ຂ້ອຍຫວັງວ່າເຈົ້າມີວັນເກີດທີ່ປະເສີດ.|
|I wish you all the best on your special day||khonykho vnyphonhai chaooskdi naimu phised khongchao||ຂ້ອຍຂໍອວຍພອນໃຫ້ເຈົ້າໂຊກດີໃນມື້ພິເສດຂອງເຈົ້າ|
|Let’s celebrate your birthday!||ma sa heim sarongvan koed khongchao kan||ມາສະເຫຼີມສະຫຼອງວັນເກີດຂອງເຈົ້າກັນ!|
|The best things in life are yet to come!||singthi dithisud naisivid nyangbothan mahod||ສິ່ງທີ່ດີທີ່ສຸດໃນຊີວິດຍັງບໍ່ທັນມາຮອດ!|
Because of the French influence in the first part of the 20th century and the American influence of the last 30 years, the people of Lao celebrate their birthdays much the same way as us with parties complete with cake and gifts. If you Youtube birthdays in Lao, they will be singing the English version of happy birthday.
Lao's capital Vientiane once had a birthday cake location called Saylom road, as reported in Reuters in 2007. The most famous of these cake shops were owned by Somchith Southiphonh, who used to make cakes for the president of Laos! Unfortunately, it isn't easy to find information on how successful these cake shops have been in recent years.
As much as Western junk food has invaded Laos, the people still retain a link to their traditional foods, especially during birthday celebrations. So expect to see Bamboo soup 'Keng No Mai'...Spicy papaya salad 'Tum mak hoong' and sticky rice 'khao niew.'
Lao birthday parties often stretch late into the night, and although gambling is illegal in the country, someone invariably brings out a deck of cards. Alcohol also heavily features. The national beer is called 'Beerlao' and in recent years has also become popular abroad. Its secret lies in the use of jasmine rice.
Late in the night, someone might crack open a bottle of Lao Lao whiskey which is not for the fainthearted. Its strength can be between 35 and 60%, the problem being nobody knows because a lot is homemade. There are many other variations on strong Lao liquor. Lao-hai is similar to Lao Lao whiskey but weaker. It is brewed by one of Lao's many ethnic groups the Khomu. Locals like to drink it through long reed straws!
For those of you who don't drink, coconuts abound! The humble coconut surged in popularity after Barack Obama was pictured drinking from one on a trip to Luang Prabang in 2016
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