By Dr Thongrith
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
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
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
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 celebrates the day of Buddha's
birth, enlightenment and passing away. It's also a time to pay respects to
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
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
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
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
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
711-715 Smithfield Road, EDENSOR PARK
Here are some pictures at Lao temple during New Year
The place where Buddha Images
Buddha Images at the temple.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
7. Naga You will have plenty of luck and material
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.