Lao people from the capital and provinces across the country gathered yesterday for the magnificent wax castle procession, one of the highlights of the annual That Luang festival.
This year’s festival holds greater significance than usual as it promotes the nation’s culture to the world through the Visit Laos Year 2018 campaign.
Participants in yesterday’s wax castle procession walked around the golden That Luang stupa in temperatures that topped 30C. Despite the warm weather, the spirit and enjoyment of the devotees and visitors taking part was in no way diminished.
The many foreigners present also enjoyed the occasion and took plenty of photographs to take home and show their friends, as this was a new experience for most.
Before arriving at That Luang yesterday, procession participants took their brightly decorated wax castles to Vat Simeuang where they paraded around the temple on Wednesday night.
Wax castle processions have been a part of Lao life for many years and people greatly enjoy this tradition. It is common to offer wax castles on special occasions and people believe it earns them a great deal of merit. There is a legend relating to Buddha’s life and the tradition of offering ornamental items made from honey and wax.
Wax castle offerings are hosted by families, villages, and districts; presented in groups and individually. Their bearers ask for blessings from monks and the spirits, hoping for good luck, health, and wealth.
The festival, which runs from October 28 to November 3 this year, also features a trade fair and exhibition booths from the provinces which advertise tourist attractions around the country, with 640 stalls at the That Luang esplanade and 460 at Lao-ITECC.
Early this morning, local and foreign visitors could see thousands of devotees gathering for an almsgiving ceremony, while this afternoon there will be a traditional tikhi game on the That Luang esplanade, followed by a candlelight procession around the gleaming stupa at 8pm, which marks the end of the festival. Making the festival even more significant and as an added surprise, the government used the opening day to officially launch ‘Visit Laos Year 2018’ in front of the revered That Luang stupa.
The ceremony on October 28 was attended by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and other senior government officials.
Courtesy: Vientiane Times | By Times Reporters
(Latest Update November 3, 2017)
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