On conclusion of the ceremony the mor phon and guests will usually move to a nearby area to eat, drink and engage in other, non-ritualistic activities.
Traditional Lao Music and Dance
During certain times of the year such as important national festivals or family occasions, traditional dance exhibitions are held at Rivertime. However, Rivertime guests can book a traditional dance performance any time with a few days’ notice and small payment to a local dance troupe. The dancers wear the traditional clothes of their ethnic group and are accompanied by ancient traditional musical instruments such as the Lao khaen.
Traditional Lao Festivals
On certain days of each month, inhabitants of the villages near Rivertime Resort attend a ceremony and line up to present offerings of simple food to monks from the local temple as they walk by on their morning alms round. Our guests are welcome to attend the ceremony and will be dressed accordingly by our staff and instructed on the basic etiquette! It's really not a complicated affair, just do what everyone else is doing! This centuries-old tradition is followed by young and old, men and women alike (Note: women must take care never to touch a monk).
However, Takbaat does usually start about 7 am!
People in the Lao PDR organise a multitude of festivals (boun) to celebrate both religious and secular events. International holidays such as New Year’s Eve on December 31 are widely celebrated, although other Christian and Muslim holidays are not. Various ethnic groups have their own unique festivals in specific regions, while other celebrations take place throughout the country. Some secular celebrations (such as National Day every December 2) are timed according to the modern European calendar, while many other events follow the traditional lunar cycle (in which each month has 28 days) and therefore vary in timing from year to year on the European calendar.
Some of the important traditional festivals which take place in and around Vientiane are:
Hmong new year (Late-November or Early december)
The Hmong ethnic group celebrate their New Year in late-November or early-December and hold a huge festival near our resort in which all the local Hmong villages participate in events such as traditional dancing, bull fighting and ethnic sports, including the ball-throwing game which is used for young people to let other young people of the opposite sex know they are interested in them!
The Lao New Year (Pimai) around April 13-16
This festival mobilizes the entire population of Laos to celebrate the Buddhist New Year.
Pimai is combined with the water festival which is believed to cleanse the sins of the
previous year. Lao people of all ages line the streets armed with a wide variety of water
containers which they use to throw water over cars, motorbikes and passers by.
The Rocket Festival (Boun Bang Fai) April - May
Boun Bang Fai takes place after Pimai. During the festival, homemade rockets of all
shapes and sizes are launched throughout the country. Rockets which fail to launch can
bring mockery to the owner, while the one which rises the highest will be seen as the
victor. The owner of this rocket will be carried by the crowd and very often thrown into
the river. The rocket launching is an attempt to fertilise the clouds in order to bring rain
to irrigate the newly-planted wet season rice crop.
Boun Ok Phansa and the Boat Racing Festival October
This festival is held on the 15th day of the growing moon, in the 11th month of the lunar
Calendar to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent and the Rains Retreat for Buddhist
monks. Several different Buddhist and Animist practices are combined, candle
processions and many other events are organized. In the evening on the Mekong and
other rivers, we can see people setting adrift thousands of tiny boats made from banana
leaves. These boats, decorated with incense, flowers and lighted candles, are sent out to
pay respect to the spirits which inhabit the rivers. In addition, there are boat races
organized on the country’s main rivers with rowing teams from all over the country as
well as Thailand, China and Myanmar. River banks are lined with food stalls, temporary
discos, carnival games and beer gardens for three nights.