Main Contents Luang Prabang and Its Art Furniture and Statuary Beliefs and Religions Population and Habitat



Beliefs and Religions


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The first day of the New Year is fixed by the passage of the sun to Samphout - or, to point zero. On this day, the spirit of the world descends again from the sky.

In the afternoon, monks from different vats sprinkle the Buddha statues at Vat Vixun and Vat That; the Pou Gneu Gna Gneu is danced on the esplanade of each vat. In the evening, Ramayana dances are performed at the royal Palace.

Early on the second day of the New Year, monks read the Phune Pra Bang, or Pra Bangs history before the statue Guardian of the Kingdom. Prayers over, the monks place the statue in a prasat or wooden shrine whereupon guards in procession transport it to Vat May to be transferred onto a gilded prasat. On Vat Vixun92s esplanade, the Pou Gneu Gna Gneu is danced.

On the following day, the procession visits the Vat Sangkhalok to sprinkle the Buddha statues. On the morning of the fourth day of the New Year, the population travel up the Mekong by boat. After stopping by at Vat Done Khoune to sprinkle the Buddha statues, the cortege stops next at Pak Ou to sprinkle the Buddha statues in Tham Ting cave. The procession then stays overnight on the sandy beach facing the cave.

On the afternoon of the fifth day, the Pou Gneu Gna Gneu is danced before the Pra Bang statue at Vat May. It is then sprinkled with holy water after which a vigil follows.

On the morning of the sixth day of the year, the Pra Bang is escorted back in procession from Vat May to the Palace. Finally, in the ninth month, the famous ‘Boat Festival', Boun Xouang Hua, is celebrated in Luang Prabang to achieve purity and bliss. This event is celebrated the following month in other parts of Laos.

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