Sunday, October 29th was the day that Laos people celebrated the end of Buddhist Lent. Here’s a short summary of the day from an informative website that has a lot of information about the day. The site says the day was celebrated on Oct. 28th, but the 29th was the actual day in Vientiane.
“End of Buddhist Lent Day is a celebration that typically falls on a full moon day in October. This year, the day will be observed on October 28. In Laos, locals call it ‘Boun Awk Phansa’ where they perform traditional rituals and engage in festivities. The ceremony marks the end of a three-month hiatus for Buddhist monks who return from meditation retreats. During this time, monks aren’t allowed to leave the pagoda under which they meditate. As they are bound to be indoors, locals bring them food in the morning along with daily necessities such as toothbrushes, towels, soap, and slippers.”
Many folks will make or buy small banana leaf boats with lit candles on them and float them on the Mekong River or other bodies of water. For those not near a lake or a river, lit candles are placed on shrines or porches. We did a bit of candle lighting on our front porch. (If you can make out the neighbors’ porch at the upper left, it looks blue. Clicking on full screen, you can see it better. That’s an artifact caused by my phone cam. I could’ve color corrected it, but I think the blue is pretty, so I left it as is.)
And, as always, the day after the end of Buddhist Lent in Vientiane means the final day of the Boat Racing Festival takes place. More on that later.