In the middle of April, when the southwest monsoon is blowing, the rainning season is coming to fall , it is the time for starting the new year festivals in many countries in East – South Asia. Bun Pi May of Laos (New Year Festival) or Water – splashing Festival is praying for water, a better life and fortunate.
Every country in the world welcomes the new year and the traditional customary on their own way. To welcome the new year, each country has its unique festivals, deeply imbued with the traditional culture of their people. Traditionally, thousands of year ago, when the New Year and the spring came , Water splashing Festival would be celebrated. During this festival, Laotians and foreign tourists, regardless of wealth, religions are in the same joy, the happiness of a true festival.
Water – Splashing Festival is one of the traditional cultural festival of the Southeast Asian countries. Laotians called it Bunpimay, Thai people called it Songkran , called Chol Chnam Thmey in Cambodia and in Myanmar it is called Thingyan. Bunpimay Tet holiday is usually taken place annually over three days, 13, 14 and 15th of April in Buddhist calendar.
Water – splasing Festival is held around the country, but the most fun is in Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. In Luang Prabang, where there are many temples and famous tourist destinations, foreign guests are enjoying crisp festive atmosphere with lots of exciting games.
Festival brings the comfort, prosperity for all things, the purity of human life. On this day, people often fall into the water together to bless, pray good weather, demand for a new year with prosperity and happiness. Festival in Laos is usually called ‘Bun’, means doing good things, doing good things to be blessed.
The first day is also the last day of the old year, everything is cleaned, people prepare scented water and flowers. In the afternoon, people in the village concentrate in the temple for worshiping Buddha, praying, listening to the monks preach, praying for health and happiness for the whole year. Then they pick out a private space Buddha in three days and is open to everyone can go to bathing Buddha. Lotion after being watered on the statue will be inspired to take home to force people doing good things.
The second day is not included because it is the transition between the old year and new year.
The third day is the last day with many jubilantly activities everywhere. Before splashing, it is common for the same good wishes. To show their homage, young people splash to older people to wish them long and prosper life. Friends is splashing together. They not only splash water on people but also house, worshiping items, animal and production tools. Laotians believe that water will wash away all bad things, sickness and the New Year wishes them to have a long, healthy and clean life. The people who get much wet will get more happiness.
They build towers by sand, decorate them with flags, flowers, cloth belt and splashing good water. In those days, people also manumit animals such as turtles, fish, crabs, birds, etc to get blessed.
On Tet holidays, visitors come home will be tied in the wrists with a round red or green clew, which is the symbol of happiness and health. During the three day of the festival, who has the most crew in the wrist will have good luck in new year.
People use sienna flowers (yellow scorpion flower) to tie the car and hang on to pray for lucky, the Champa flower is put in clusters or installed on hair to pray the blessing of the year.
If you intend to attend the water splashing festival in Luang Prabang, start booking immediately. In Luang Prabang. there are many motels, hotels for guests at different price . At the time of the festival, you should book in advance to make sure your accommodation. This is a city with a long history of Laos with a lot of attractions like the sacred temple, the old town, Pak Ou caves, mountains Phoushi and the night market. They sell traditional products or famous silver products of Laotians.
During Tet, Laotians love to eat polony with hot sticky rice. There’s also a lot of dishes you should try such as dried buffalo meat, grilled chicken, grilled fish, etc.
If being in Laos in those days of holidays, be ready to receive the blessing of water. Laotians are very friendly. If you’re driving or walking on the street, they’ll just splash water on your body. Do not be angry, they do that only to wish you good health throughout your life and think of themselves as they are healthy.
In recent years, Bun Pi May has brought new content. It is an opportunity for agencies, offices summarizing the work meeting last year and launched a new round of competition for next year with more new achievements. Next, the activities and entertainment are held with many different attractive forms fit with the characteristics and habits of each region. For Laotians, fun is the first, food is the second. Where there is drumming and dance emerged as flutter echo in the hearts of competition that fun is throughout the night.