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Department of information, Culture and Tourism; Tourism Division located in : Huay Xai neua village, Huay Xai District, Bokeo province, Laos
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Ethnic Festivals
Almost every month of the year there is either a local festival or celebration in Laos. The word for festival in Lao is boun, which also means doing good things in order to gain merit for subsequent lives. If you are in Bokeo while any of the festivals are taking place you will surely be welcomed and asked to join the fun. Please feel free to participate, however remember that most of the festivals are based on religious beliefs, so your hosts will appreciate it if you respect local codes of behavior.

Boun Makhaboucha
This festival is held on the full moon to commemorate the speech given by the Lord Buddha to 1,250 enlightened monks that gathered spontaneously, without prior notice. In the evening, the faithful visit local temples and Circumnavigate the wat three times with candles in a ceremony known as vien tian. Here in Bokeo, this is a special festival and the locals build large bonfires late in the evening at the temples.

Boun Khao Chi
Special offering of sticky rice is coated with eggs then roasted and offered to monks. Deceased ancestors are called to come and receive alms at the temple. This ceremony is associated with Makhaboucha.

Kapok Flower Festival (Boun Dok Ngiew)
This is a major event in Bokeo province, festivities are concentrated round Don Sao island upriver in Ton Peung district. The festival incorporates market fairs, parties and dancing, and a local beauty pageant.

Boun Visakhaboucha
This festival celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Lord Buddha. It is held on the 15th day of the sixth lunar month. Beautiful candlelit processions take place in the evening.

Boun Khao Phansa
This festival, held on the full moon, marks the beginning of Buddhist lent, a three month period where monks are required to stay within their vat to meditate and focus on darma studies. Lao men are traditionally ordained as monks during this time.

Boun Khao Salak
Offerings including daily necessities such as books, pens, sugar and coffee are made to specific monks based on a lottery system. Laypeople also give beautiful wax flower candles to the monks to gain merit.

Boun Ok Phansa
Held on the full moon which marks the end of the rainy season, monks who were ordained for the three month lent period leave the vat and rejoin their families. During the evening of Van Ok Phansa, in a charming ceremony small banana-leaf boats called heua fai are launched on rivers with offerings of incense, candles and small amounts of money to bring luck and prosperity.
Main Event Schedule
Akha and Lahu New Year
Hmong New Year
Lanten and Yao New Year
Panna and Tai Neua New Year
"Spirit of the New Rice Festival" Khmu and Mon-Khmer speaking ethnic groups
Boun Makhaboucha
Boun Khao Chi
Kapok Flower Festival (Boun Dok Ngiew)
"Kao Ban Festival" Akha ethnic group
"Pi Mai Lao" Lao New Year
"Boun Bang Fai" The Rocket Festival
Boun Visakhaboucha
"Vor Salee Festival" Lahu ethnic group
Boun Khao Phansa
Boun Khao Salak
"Swidden Ricefield Festival" performed by the Lahu ethnic group before the harvest.
Boun Ok Phansa