Fireworks and celebrations take place at Chinese and Vietnamese temples.
Boun Makha Bousa
Takes place on the full moon to commemorate the speech given by the Buddha to 1,250 enlightened monks who had gathered with no organization or prior warning. In the evening, people visit the temple and circle the wat three times with candles in a ceremony known as vien tian.
Boun Khao Chi
Special offerings of sticky rice coated with eggs are made to monks. It is associated with Mahka Bousa.
Boun Pha Vet
Lasting 3 days and 3 nights, this religious festival celebrates Buddha's previous incarnation before being born as Prince Siddhartha.
Celebrated for 3 days, this is the most important celebration of the year. Throwing buckets of water to passersby. The best festival is the Luang Prabang festivities, which include a procession, a fair, a sand-castle competition on the Mekong, a Miss New Year pageant, folk performances, and cultural shows.
A festival of fertility and rainmaking. Held just before the start of the rainy season. Huge homemade rockets are fired into the air to prompt the gods to create rain for the upcoming rice-growing season. There are music, dancing, performances, and processions.
15th day of 6th lunar month (Late May)
Boun Visakha Bousa
The birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha. Candlelit processions take place in the evening.
Boun Khao Phansa
At local temples, worshipers in brightly colored silks greet the dawn on Buddhist Lent by offering gifts to the monks and pouring water into the ground as a gesture of offering to their ancestors. Lent begins in July and lasts 3 months. Monks are required to stay within their wat during this time, to meditate and focus on dharma studies. Lao men are traditionally ordained as monks during this time.
Late August or early September
Haw Khao Padap Din
Paying respect to the dead.
Boun Khao Salak
People make offerings to the monks. These include practical items such as books, pens, sugar, and coffee. Laypeople also give wax flower candles to the monks in order to gain merit.
Boun Ork Phansa
Buddhist Lent and the rainy season both end in this holiday. Monks are liberated to perform their normal community duties. It is celebrated with boat races and carnivals. In the evening of Van Ork Phansa, a ceremony is held throughout Laos in which people launch small, candlelit banana-leaf (heua fai) floats on the rivers, decorated with offerings of incense and small amounts of money to bring luck and prosperity.
Held at different times in late summer or early fall in every riverside town. Celebrates the end of Buddhist Lent. The Vientiane Boat Race Festival (Vientiane and Savannakhet) is held the second weekend in October. The Luang Prabang Boat Races are held in early September along the Nam Kan, with a major market day preceding the races and festivities throughout the night on race day.
Pilgrimage to That Luang Stupa in Vientiane. Before dawn, thousands join in a ceremonial offering and group prayer, followed by a procession. For days afterward, a combined trade fair and carnival offers handicrafts, flowers, games, concerts, and dance shows.