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Proverb

CUSTOM MADE

By Dr Thongrith Phoumirath

The soukhouane is the key cultural word that connotes and denotes the attitude, the thinking and worldview of the Lao people.  To many Lao, it is the true maker of the Lao identity: every Lao person, regardless of gender, must and will have a soukhouane at one stage or another of his or her life.    The performance of the soukhouane evokes the history, the mythology and cosmology that have existed since the halcyons days of our ancestors.  It helps to bring about spontaneous memory of long-held tradition, of happy times and good omens for the future.  Furthermore, it speaks of the joys of the present and mundane occurrence like feasting and celebrating the auspicious occasions or to strengthen oneself in time of crisis.  The soukhouane has become for the Lao a mechanism through which the Lao maintain links with and represent the past: maintaining and continuing their identity and tradition.  More info>>>

BOUN PRAVADE

Buddhism a closer look at the Lao people and the Lao culture. You have been granted entry to take a journey and travel to beautiful Laos and experience the Lao culture. And the unforgettable festival called Boun Pravade. Learn about the Lao brief history, of Wat Lao Minnesota and the country of Laos. What it means to be a Buddhist in America. Where is the country of Laos? What is the daily life of the Monks? How Buddhism influences the Lao culture a Lao customs and much more topic such as witness monk enlightenment ceremony.  More info>>>

Songhane Pimay (Lao New Year)

Traditionally, house are cleaned, new clothes are worn and Buddha images are cleansed.  Dowsing of water.

Boun Bunk Fire (Rocket Festival)

Featuring many joyous ceremonies, calling for rain for the planting season.   Larges rockets are fired.  

Boun Visakhaphusa

Boun Visakhaphusa celebrates the day of Buddha's birth, enlightenment and passing  away.  It's also a time to pay respects to ancestors.

BOUN KHAO  PHANSA

The beginning of the three---- month long Buddhist Lent.  All monks stop travelling and stay at temple for prayer and meditation.  It's also time for ordination of men entering a monkhood.

BOUN HAW KHAO PADUP DIN

(Offering Ceremony to the Ancestors' Spirit On the First Day of Release from Apaya Bhumi)

Haw Khao Padup Din ceremony offering Dana to the spirit of our beloved ones.  It is a tradition that this time of the year those spirits are believed to have released from the Apaya Bhumi or hell plane to receive Dana.  It is therefore an occasion to spread loving kindness to them.

In order to preserve our good traditions.  We, the sangha communities wish to extend the invitation to all Buddhists and non-Buddhist friends to take part in this refuge-taking occasion.

The offering packages are available at the Monasteries for those who wish to make donation to their ancestors.

BOUN HAW KHAO SALARK

(Offering Ceremony to the Ancestors' spirit On Their Last Day before returning to Apaya Bhuni)

The offering (good deeds) is to be dedicated towards the ancestors' spirit on their last day journey back to the Dukha Apaya Bhumi so they can take the offerings with them on their return to where they belong serving their life kamma.

Boun Oak Watsa

Marking the end of  Buddhist Lent.   Monks are permitted to travel.  In the evening, lighting of candles in and around the temples pays respects to Buddha and his mother.

It is also a time for people making new vows, praying for forgiveness for sins committed in the past year and to get rid of bad luck or disease.

Small ornamental floats decorated with flowers, candles lit and money are floated along a river bank.  This signifies that it'll takes away any troubles of the owners.

Lao New Year, Why in April?

Why do we celebrate Lao New Year in April?

It is not easy to explain why some countries in South East Asia such as Burma, Cambodia, Lao, Thailand and even Sri Lanka, have chosen April the 13th as the beginning of their new years celebrations.

In Laos we celebrate new year for three days which fall on the 13th, 14th and 15th of April. According to Lao astrological calculations, the sun made a complete revolution around the earth about the 13th of April which we consider as the last day of the year (known as “Mur Sangkhane Pai or “Luang”), the 14th as the day between the old and new year ( known as “Mur Sangkhane Nao”) and the 15th as the new Year’s Day (Known as “Mur Sangkhane Khun”).

We perform different activities on each day, such as spring cleaning, wash our hair, build sand mounds, free live birds or fish on the first day of the festival. On the second day we visit friends or go to the temple to cleanse Buddha images. On the third day or New year’s Day, we offer food to the monks, listen to Buddha talk or sermon, eat a special dish called “LARB” to bring good luck, pay homage to our parents and elders and tie white strings around each other wrists to say “Happy New Year”. We also wish each other good health by sprinkling water on each other. However, young people sprinkle by the buckets! In Australia, many Lao-Australian still perform the activities mentioned.

Why de we build sand mounds?

It was believed that if we could repay our parents with gratitudes we would be very lucky. One way of showing this was to build sand mounds. By doing so, we would receive as much luck as many grains of sand.

It was also believed that if a married couple wished to have children they should build little mounds around the big one.

Why do tie white strings around the wrists?

The colour white of the strings is meant for purity. The strings are comparable to greeting cards which are commonly used in Western cultures with written, happy or sad messages within. Our wishes are formulated orally and vary depending on the occasion whilst we tie the strings around the wrists. We usually tie three knots and the strings are to be worn for three days in order for the wishes to be effective. The ceremony of tying the strings around the wrists is called the “Basi” or “ Soukhouane” ceremony which is performed on different occasions such as weddings, new Year, house blessings, birthdays and farewells.

Why do sprinkle water on each other?

As April is hot in Laos so it is refreshing to be doused with water which we also consider as cleansing or purifying element. We use water or performed water to cleanse Buddha images, to bless newly wed couples after they offer alms to the monks and sprinkle of each other during our New Year festival. We believe that with our body clean and our spirit purified we can look forward to a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous new Year!

Prayortkeo Temple, Sydney

Wat Prayortkeo Lao Buddhist Temple
711-715 Smithfield Road, EDENSOR PARK

Here are some pictures at Lao temple during New Year

The place where Buddha Images cleansed.

Buddha Images at the temple.

Sang Si

THE STORY OF SONGKANE

It is not easy to explain why some countries in Southeast Asia, such as Burma, Combodia, Laos and Thailand, and even Sri Lanka, have chosen April the 13th as the beginning of their new year.

However, according to nature, April is the beginning of the hot season in those countries. In summer, many trees and their leaves, and not long after new leaves rill shoot and begin their lives. And so the old ends and the new begins.

The hot season is also the time when most farmers are free from works, and therefore, it is the time for celebrations and other religious activities. Perhaps, it is because of this happy change that the new year begins in the South and Southeast Asia. Traditionally, twelve years is called a cycle. It starts from the year of the Rat, and then the Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and the Pig. 2000 is the year of Dragon.

One day, Kapila Brahma, one of the biggest gods in heaven came down to test a boy’s wisdom (the boy is a rich man’s son, and his name was Dhammapala). "In the morning, in the day time and at night time where is Siri ( the biggest blessing in a human being) to be found ?"

Along with this question, the god made a strange gamble. He said that if Dhammapala could not answer, within one week, he would cut the boy’s head off. However, on the other hand. If he could answer, then Kapila Brahma would cut his own head off.

Dhammapala was worried, he only had one week to find the answer. And tried as he may, he could not think of it. Just one day before the deadline, he was walking through the forest and rested under a palm tree. Up in the tree lived cultures, a man and his son, and they were conversing. "Where shall we go for our meal tomorrow? asked the son. "We don’t have to go far," replied the father. "Dhammapala, the rich man’s son will be killed for not being able to answer the god’s question." What question?" as the son. "Do you know the answer?"

Yes, it is very easy", answer the father, According to Brahmanisn, Siri in the morning stays on the face. That is why the morning the people wash their faces. In the afternoon, Siri stays on the hold body. That is why they bathe all over. And at night it stays on the feet, that is why people clean feet before they go to bed."

Having heard this conversation, Dhammapala was very happy. And in the following morning he gave Kapila Brahma the correct answer. True to his word, Kapila Brahma cut off his own head. But before killing himself, he called for his seven daughters to take care of his head, because it fell on earth, the whole planet would catch fire, causing untold calamity to all living beings. And if it fell in the ocean, the great ocean would dry up.

He told his daughters to place his head in the Khandbuli cave of Mount Krailas. And once a year, they were to come out of heavens to bathe it and to parade it around Mount Sumeru. He said that if they took care in his manner, there would be peace and prosperity in the world.

When the Laotians, the Thai and the Cambodians hold this traditional new year parade, the procession is led by the seven daughters of Kapila Brahma. Depending on the day of the week that new year’s day falls, the girls whose name falls on that day, will lead the parade. The names of the seven daughters, in order of birth, corresponding with the days of the week are as follows:

Khorad Dewee

Monday

Haksod DEwee

Tuesday

Montha Dewee

Wednesday

Karinee Dewee

Thursday

Kamitha Dewee

Friday

Mahothone Dewee

Saturday

Thongsa Dewee

Sunday

Though some of the Buddhist traditions come from Brahmanism, we do bathe the Buddha images instead and that would bring peace and prosperity to all beings.

THE MEANING OF STAR ANIMALS

According to some ancient astrology, the following eight Star Animals have meanings for one’s birthday. These are not to be confused with the 12 animal cycle of one’s birth year.

To find out your Star Animal for this year, you will have to count your age backwards starting from the Tiger ( for a male person ) or from the ox ( for a female person ) and counting that animal as one. The animal on which you land is your Star Animal for this year. For example, if you were a male person, 25 years of age of this year, your Star Animal would be Tiger.

After you find out your Star Animal, the meanings for your Star Animal are written below. Whether the predictions are true or not, is for you to judge.

1. Rasasy ( a lion-like mythical cat ) One will gain a high position in terms of authority and opportunity with people at one’s beck and call. Material and monetary means will be in abundance.

2. Cat (This year you will receive frequent but small luck. Even if you have an enemy, he/she will not harm you. Be careful with your finance. You may lose some money.

3. Garuda You will gain victory with satisfaction. Your enemy will become your friend and you will live in peace.

4. Ox You will live a life of abundance. From mid year onwards your luck will diminish slightly but it will return by the end of the year.

5. Elephant Your life will be bright and shiny with luck and treasure. It is your happiest year and you will receive some news from far away.

6. Rat Whatever you have, either luck or suffering, you will only have half of it. The environment will worry you. Take care of your health.

7. Naga You will have plenty of luck and material wealth.

at the end of the year you will receive some luck from someone higher, but take care of your health. You may have stomach problems. If you are single, you may find a partner.

8 Tiger At the beginning of the year you will have luck, but at the end of the year you will receive money from someone of the opposite sex. Be careful of your speech.

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