That Luang Festival

That Luang Festival

Full moon in November
This annual weeklong festival takes place in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, at the time of the full moon. The festival is centered in and around That Luang Stupa, the country's most sacred Buddhist temple, which is the National Symbol of Laos. During the festival, hundreds of monks from all over the country gather to chant, pray, and accept alms and gifts of flowers and food from local people. Buddhists consider giving to the monks beneficial, and they give willingly, without accepting thanks. The monks, for their part, share their takings with the poor of the city.
On the evening of the full moon, the monks take part in a sacred procession. This is capped off by a grand fireworks display and revelry through the night in which entire families take part. Dancing, music, drinking, and eating go on far into the night. During the day, an international trade fair takes place in the city that showcases tourism in Laos and other countries in the region. Vendors selling goods and trinkets on the streets add to a carnival-like atmosphere.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of Lao People's Democratic Republic
2222 S St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-332-6416; fax: 202-332-4923
www.laoembassy.com
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References in periodicals archive ?
Activities for Visit Laos Year will be added to the countryOs main cultural events, including the Hmong New Year, the Elephant Festival in Sayabouly (February), Lao New Year in Luang Prabang (April), the Rocket Festival in Xieng Khouang (May), and the That Luang Festival in Vientiane (November).
Laotian authorities plan to tighten security and dress regulations for the annual That Luang festival in Vientiane that begins Tuesday and lasts a week, following a series of explosions in public places since April, a state-run newspaper reported Thursday.