Laos Events and Festivals
New Year's Day: Laos celebrates the Christian new year with as much fun as anywhere else in the world.
Boun Pha Wet: temples around the country celebrate Jataka, a reincarnation of the Buddha in the form of the Lao prince Vestsantara. Festivities fill the towns, and many men join the monkhood on this auspicious occasion.
Vietnamese Tet and Chinese New Year: fireworks, dragon parades and lots of partying accompany this new year celebration based around the Chinese and Vietnamese communities in Laos.
Magha Puja: to commemorate a famous speech made by the Buddha to 1,250 monks, the temples of Laos are lit up with candles. Traditional chanting by monks can be heard throughout the night.
Boun Khoun Khao: this traditional harvest festival pays homage to the spirits of the land, and is celebrated in every village throughout the country.
Lao New Year (Pimai): water fights and a nationwide mood of partying overtake Laos for several days during the traditional new year, which takes place at the hottest time of the year.
Rocket Festival: in an effort to bring back the rains, bamboo rockets are fired into the skies all across Laos, accompanied by music, dancing, drinking and cultural performances.
Visa Bochea Day: the Buddha’s birthday is a reverent time for Buddhists to make merit by visiting temples and making offerings to monks.
Buddhist Lent: this sombre festival marks the time when the monks retreat into their temples for three months of meditation.
Festival of the Dead: Luang Prabang is the place to experience this interesting ritual where the spirits of the dead are remembered, accompanied by exciting boat races on the Mekong.
Boat Racing Festival: marking the end of Buddhist Lent is this wonderful festival where teams of rowers bring their colourful boats to the Mekong for a day of races, singing, eating and drinking.
Hmong New Year: the Hmong ethnic group is one of the largest in northern Laos. During their traditional new year Hmong villages put on some wonderful performances, games and fun events.
That Luang Festival: Vientiane’s biggest festival involves a massive temporary market, live music, dancing, games and drinking. Offerings are made by the monks at this temple’s famous stupa and fireworks mark the end of the event.