Date: 27 October 2015 (Boun Ok Phansa & Lhai Heua Fai, Festival of the Boats of Light)
Date: 28 October 2015 (Boat Racing Festival)
Venue: Vientiane Capital and Nationwide
On the first day at dawn, donation and offerings are made at temples around the city. In the evening, candlelight processions are held around the temples and hundred of colorful floats decorated with flower, incense and candle are set adrift down the Mekong river in thanksgiving to the river spirit. The next day, a popular and exciting boat racing competition is held on the Mekong river. Big crowds gather along the banks of the Mekong River to watch and cheer on the boats. Next to the official stand a traditional orchestra plays to accompany each race and accelerate the tempo as the boats closes in on the finish line, dramatically adding to the momentum. Traditional racing boats are carved using one single tree. The boats belong to a village and are usually kept in a shelter on the temple grounds and come out only once a year for the race. Several days before the race the boats are cleaned and presented with offerings because the boats are considered sacred items.
These boats can hold approximately fifty paddlers. The morning is devoted to women’s crews and the afternoon to men’s crews. The starting point is two kilometers upstream and the competition is between two boats at a time. The loser is eliminated. After the final race, all the boats participate in a final competition/show, which is rather spectacular. The winners receive a trophy, a silver cup and cash.
Travel to Lao on the occasion of this festival, you will have a chance to join crowd atmostphere there.