Lao Calendar: 21 Big Events To Watch Out For

The Lao calendar is jampacked with events. There’s everything from Pathet Lao day on January 6th to Boun Pi Mai starting on April 14(the Lao New Year), when the whole country goes into a frenzy. Let’s have a look at the list. 

 

Events In The Lao Calendar

DayEvent
Jan 1New Year’s Day
Jan 6Pathet Lao Day
Jan 20Army Day
Feb-MarchBoun Khao Chi
Mar 8Women’s Day
Mar 22People’s Party Day
Late MarchBoun Pha Vet
Apr 14-16Boun Pi Mai(Lao New Year)
May 1Labour Day
Mid MayRocket Festival
Late MayBoun Visakha Bousa
June 1Children’s Day
Mid-JulyBoun Khao Pansa
Aug 13Lao Issaea
Aug- SeptHaw Khao Padap Din
Mid SeptBoun Khao Salak
Oct 12Liberation Day
Mid OctBun Ork Phansa
Early NovThat Luang Festival
Nov- DecHmong New Year
Dec 2Lao National Day

Pathet Lao Day

In theory, this blog could go on endlessly because there’s so much nuance in the different days that are celebrated in Laos. The people of Laos do well with their public holiday allowance(11 in total), but it’s nothing compared to bordering Cambodia, which celebrates 24. Thailand is not far behind with 16.

First things first, Pathet Lao day is celebrated annually on Jan 6th. The Pathet Lao came to power after America was defeated in The Vietnam War, and the communists fought for a free Laos. It is hugely symbolic for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic( full name). It is seen as a day to celebrate the time when the Lao people rose up and finally shook off the colonial shackles. (Note: Army Day on January 20 is very closely related).

Lao Calendar

Boun Khao Chi

This religious festival is another important celebration in honor of the Buddha. People carry candles and circle their local temples. The festival takes place during the third full moon of the lunar calendar. An offering of food is made to the monks called Makhaboucha.

Boun Visakha Bousa

This religious festival celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Lord Buddha. It always happens on the 15th day of the 6th lunar month. Because of the associated pageantry, it is a great time to visit Laos(Luang Prabang especially).

Haw Khao Padap Din

This is a festival to mark Buddhist Lent. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the 9th month.

In Lao, ‘Haw’ means wrap in small packs. What is wrapped in small packs is sticky rice and sweet coconut milk.

Lao religion is peculiar because as well as being Buddhist, it also has an element of Animism. Haw Khao Padap Din is also a time to pay respect to Maethaulanii, the earth god.

During the festival, people make offerings such as cigarettes and sweet treats at the foot of trees. This happens all in darkness because it is the time when spirits are supposed to come out.

Lao Calendar

Boun Ork Phansa

This festival marks the end of Buddhist lent(3 months long) and the rainy season. It marks the end of the period where monks must remain in their temples. After Boun Ork Phansa, festivals begin to take place again. A sight that is well worth seeing is the Nam Khan river lit up by small boats made of banana leaves and housing a candle.

That Luang

That Luang is actually the name of a famous stupa that Lao Theravada Buddhists believe contains a relic from the Buddha.

That Luang is over 500 years old and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. People gather in Vientiane for the three-day festival, first at Wat Si Muang before moving to That Luang. Like many things related to Lao festivals, offerings are made to monks so people can hopefully gain future prosperity. Again, worshippers circle the stupa three times while holding candles.

Hmong New Year

This is often overlooked in the calendar because the Hmong are a minority. It shares many similarities with Lao new year and centers heavily around honoring the spirits of ancestors. It ranges from 3 days to a week long. Offerings are made to the god of wealth and prosperity. Popular food includes boiled chicken, Hmong Larb, and papaya salad.

For more information about the Hmong new year, check out this article.

Ironically, many Hmong now live outside Laos, so many of the world’s biggest new year celebrations take place in America.

 

Learn Lao With Ling

Lao Calendar

There you have it. Those are all the festivals in Laos. Laos holidays are some of the most colorful and energetic in the world, which is why you should book a holiday there. But first…

Ling has developed a Lao language course excellent for beginners and advanced learners alike. Start with the basics like introducing yourself, and then move on to language about space travel once you find your footing!

We have 15-minute bite-sized lessons that will get your day off to a winning start. At the moment, Ling is only doing Ling Live with Thai classes(keep an eye out for Lao), but don’t worry, for we have a chatbot function in the app that allows you to practice speaking with our advanced A. I algorithm.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on our Lao blog, updated weekly. My two personal favorites on the blog are Cheers in Lao and 10 room names in Lao.

Don’t be shy to leave a comment. Until the next time!

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