Gabriel Shaya
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Set the river on fire.

October 25, 2009 @ 3:05 AM | Permalink

This year was the first time I experienced Bun Awk Phansa, and I'm happy to report it's now my favorite festival in Laos.  The new year celebration in April is terribly fun, but even more so, exhausting.  It officially lasts 4 days, but in reality it's a 2+ week party.  The theme of the festivities is washing for the new year, so people throw water on each other for the duration.  You are never dry, you have to carry your phone and money in plastic bags, and there is endless drinking and carrying on.  Bun Awk Phansa, on the other hand, lasts a night or two.  Celebrating the end of Buddhist lent, people hang lanterns all over town, and each village parades their beautiful hand-made paper boat down the street, while fireworks explode overhead.  After the boats are displayed and judged on the grounds of the most famous temple in town, Vat Xieng Thong, they are floated down the Mekong River.  Accompanying these are "katong," small banana leaf and flower boats, on which people usually add a small lock of hair and candles, and send down the river as a wish for good luck.  It's quite a sight to see thousands of these floating downstream.  



Posted on 10/30/2009 by

Rebecca Jacobson

Rebecca Jacobson

Gorgeous photos! I love the one of the boy with the star-shaped lantern.

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Gabe, When I see you next, can we drink beer with ice, and can we line dance, the whole time twirling our hands? I miss you very much. Love, Mafalda

Mafalda Marrocco on One BeerLao, Please. With Ice. 2009-09-02

This is so cool. You are the greatest. Keep up the good work . The world needs more people like you. Enjoy your journey. Julie Nguyen, Potomac, MD

Julie Nguyen on One BeerLao, Please. With Ice. 2009-09-04

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