Posted By : Threeland Travel / Festivals And Events
Boun Pimai (or Pimai Lao)
Boun Pimai is one of the most important annual festivals (particularly in Luang Prabang) to celebrate Lao New Year in the lasting several days in mid-April (13-15). The first month of the Lao New Year is actually December but festivities are delayed until April when days are longer than nights. By April it’s also hotting up, so having hoses leveled at you and buckets of water dumped on you is more pleasurable. It is a combination of merriment and meditation. Similar to festivals at this time of year in other Southeast Asian countries - particularly Thailand - Boun Pimai is celebrated with parades, circle dance (ramwong), traditional Lao folk singing (mor lam) and enthusiastic water-throwing. The religious aspects of the festival are most apparent in Luang Prabang, where Buddha statues are worshiped with water pouring ceremonies. Temple compounds are further decorated with small sand Stupas, offered as merit towards good fortune and health.
The lunar new year begins in mid-April and practically the entire country comes to a halt and celebrates. Houses are cleaned, people put on new clothes and Buddha images are washed with lustral water. In the wats, offerings of fruit and flowers are made at various altars and votive mounds of sand or stone are fashioned in the courtyards. Later the citizens take to the streets and douse one another with water, which is an appropriate activity as April is usually the hottest month of the year. This festival is particularly picturesque in Luang Prabang, where it includes elephant processions.