That Luang celebrations reflect Laos’ traditional culture
By Times Reporters
11 November 2016

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The celebrations this year will reflect the traditional lifestyle of the Lao people and seek to promote the nation to foreign visitors.

Vice President of Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation, Veth Masenay, briefed local media on Wednesday at Sisaket Temple about the preparations for That Luang Festival.

“That Luang Festival celebrations this year will be more orderly than previous years to honour the 450th anniversary of That Luang’s establishment as well to promote the beautiful culture of Laos to local and foreign eyes,” he said.

The celebrations this year (officially from November 12-14) will also reflect on the traditional lifestyle of the Lao people and promote the nation to foreign visitors.

He said the most important worship activities for celebrating That Luang Festival each year were the prasat pherng (wax castle),  vienthien (candle light procession), makbeng (flower pyramids) and tonkalapheuk (money trees). All these rituals are conducted to show reverence for the bone of the Buddha contained inside the That Luang stupa.

On the 13th day of the lunar calendar Buddhist people in Laos will join the wax castle procession, and bring toneakapeuk and makbeng for procession at Simeuang temple in order to worship Yamae Simeuang and the city’s pillar.

On the following day the parade will move from Simeuang Temple and arrive at Nongbone temple, then on to make three processions around That Luang Stupa. In the evening, there will be a candle light procession.

The 15th day of the lunar calendar, which is the final day of the festival, features an almsgiving ceremony and a game of Tikhy (traditional hockey) between leading officials and members of the public. According to tradition, if the public team wins there will be a good harvest while if the officials win the crop will be less.

To mark the 450th anniversary of That Luang’s establishment the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organisation has issued a souvenir coin for those attending to raise funds to support the That Luang Restoration Project, which needs more than 10 billion kip ($1 million).

Masenay urged local people, and especially the young, to attend That Luang Festival to promote the conservation of beautiful Lao culture, as well as encouraged Buddhist people in the country and around the world to join in the restoration.

Deputy Director General of Vientiane Information, Culture and Tourism Khochon Keomanivong said the entrance of That Luang stupa this year was featuring Vang Noungboua Phayanak (Naga’s Pond) to beautify the vicinity for visitors.

Many booths are displaying a wide variety of local, including ODOP (one district, one product), and imported goods adding to the spectacle of the celebrations.

A reconstruction of Lao houses from the 16th century is also on display giving a glimpse into traditional life of the past.

Cultural performances are scheduled each night from November 10-14 featuring artists from many provinces across the country.

To showcase That Luang stupa and illuminate public spaces on the special occasion additional lighting has been provided by EDL.

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