Public Holidays in Laos
Laos, known as the "Land of a Million Elephants," is a country rich in culture and tradition. Its calendar is adorned with a colorful array of public holidays, each offering a glimpse into the nation's heritage. Here are some of Laos' unique celebrations:
- Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao): Celebrated in April, this is one of Laos' most vibrant festivals. The country comes alive with water fights, processions, and religious ceremonies as people cleanse themselves for the new year.
- Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival): Held in May, this festival is an explosion of music, dance, and homemade rockets. Villages compete to launch the most impressive rockets to encourage the rainy season.
- Lao National Day (December 2): On this day, Laos commemorates its declaration of independence from France in 1945. Festivities include parades, flag-raising ceremonies, and cultural performances.
- Boat Racing Festival (Boun Suang Heua): Usually occurring in October, this festival involves colorful boat races on the Mekong River. Teams from different regions compete in beautifully decorated longboats.
- Boun Ok Phansa: This marks the end of Buddhist Lent in October. It's a time of giving alms, visiting temples, and releasing illuminated floats on water bodies to pay respects to ancestors.
- That Luang Festival: Celebrated at the iconic That Luang Stupa in Vientiane, this event in November includes a grand procession, traditional dances, and religious ceremonies.
- Hmong New Year: The Hmong ethnic group celebrates its new year with traditional music, dances, and sports competitions, offering a unique cultural experience.
- Almsgiving to Monks: While not a specific holiday, the daily almsgiving ritual is an integral part of Laos' Buddhist culture. Devotees offer food to monks as they walk through the streets in the early morning.
- Lao Women's Union Day (July 20): This day recognizes the role and contributions of women in Lao society. It's a time to celebrate their achievements and promote gender equality.
- Lao Front for National Construction Day (August 13): Celebrating the organization that plays a significant role in the country's socio-political landscape, this day involves ceremonies and cultural events.
- Haw Khao Padap Din (Lao Arbor Day): Observed in June, this day encourages tree planting and environmental awareness.
- Lao National Cultural Day (February 13): An occasion to celebrate and preserve the country's unique cultural heritage through exhibitions and performances.
Laos' public holidays offer an opportunity to immerse oneself in the country's diverse traditions, from water fights during Pi Mai Lao to the serene almsgiving ceremonies at dawn. These celebrations showcase the resilience and rich cultural tapestry of the Lao people, making them an integral part of the nation's identity.
Upcoming Holidays (next six months)
|National Day||December 02||Saturday||Public Holiday|
|National Day Holiday||December 04||Monday||Public Holiday|
|International New Year's Day||January 01||Monday||Public Holiday|
|International Women's Day||March 08||Friday||Public Holiday|
|Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao)||April 13||Saturday||Public Holiday|
|Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) Holiday||April 14||Sunday||Public Holiday|
|Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) Holiday||April 15||Monday||Public Holiday|
|International Labour Day||May 01||Wednesday||Public Holiday|