Discovery >

Lao Festivals of Sticky Rice and Long Boats

April 3, 2014 by Khiri Travel | Filed Under: ,

Luang Prabang, the largest city in Northern Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage site, celebrates two significant festivals during the three months of Buddhist Lent (usually from July to September depending on the lunar calendar). The spiritual ceremony of Boun Khao Padap Dinh or Ancestor’s Day is held at every temple to honor the deceased. Lao people go to the temple to offer morning alms to the monks and novices and listen to sermons. The ceremonial offering is the Lao diet staple, sticky rice. Boun Khao Padap Dinh literal translates to mean “festival of rice packets decorating the earth.” The act of placing sticky rice in the monk’s bowls and distributing small packets of sticky rice around the house or at the temple honors the dead by transmitting the blessings of this meritorious act to the ancestors.

Buddhist Lent also coincides with the cool, rainy season and the time for the Boun Souang Heua or Boat Racing Festival. This colorful and much anticipated event is held on different weekends all over the country. The festival date in Luang Prabang falls exactly at the midpoint of Buddhist Lent. Located on the Nam Khan River, which joins the Mekong River at the Old Town of Luang Prabang, each temple or nearby village is represented by a long, wooden boat. Each boat holds 30 to 50 traditionally costumed, determined rowers either sitting in the front to shout the pace, in the middle to paddle, or in the back to steer. With an audience of mostly local people, it is an amazing spectacle to witness. Traditionally the race is held when the river is at its highest level and fiercest current. The long boats represent the mythical Naga serpent and the race is intended to give thanks to the spirit of the mountains for the water it has brought farmers to nourish the rice fields.

For more information on festival dates and itinerary suggestions to attend the festivals, please contact [email protected].

Latest post

Haunting Temple Tunes at Si Satchanalai

Compared to Sukhothai Historical Park (which is very well maintained with a lot of restoration work neatly done beside well kept lawns), we immediately noticed the much more ‘authentic’ appearance of Si Satchanalai Historical Park.

Read More

Golfing in Cambodia is Now Par for the Course

These days, foreigners mainly visit the former French colonial town of Siem Reap to see the temples of Angkor Wat. But the town is one of the world’s best undiscovered golf destinations. There are now three international standard courses each with their own variety and challenges for amateurs to professionals.

Read More

Mayura Hill Hotel & Resort: A Welcome Addition to the Mountains of Mondulkiri

There is a new hotel opening in the beautiful province of Mondulkiri in northeastern Cambodia that Khiri Travel would like to draw your attention to. Located in Sen Monorom, capital of the province, the Mayura Hill Hotel & Resort is a welcome addition to the area. The 14 villas of the Mayura occupy a very […]

Read More

Explore the Stung Treng Countryside by Bicycle

Take the road less traveled literally. Stung Treng or “River of Reeds” is one of Cambodia’s most unknown destinations. This northwestern region, located close to where the Sekong and Mekong rivers meet,

Read More

Subscribe to our newsletter

Our B2B newsletters are for industry professionals




    *We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time.