That Luang festival, one of the biggest Buddhist festival in Laos, is annually held from the 13th full moon of the 12th month of the lunar calendar to worship the great stupa That Luang.
The Golden Stupa or Pha That Luang is the national symbol and most important religious monument in Laos. Together with the religious rituals, the That Luang Fair is also organized a week before the festival to create a festive ambiance around the That Luang esplanade, where there are hundreds of commercial stalls displaying handcrafts and products from different parts of the country. In 2012, the celebration tentatively occurs on 29th October.
The festival begins with the wax castles procession in the evening around the Simuong temple. People assemble, beautifully dressed in traditional costumes carrying silver urns with flowers and candles and their own wax castles to precede 3 rounds around the temple. This procession is to pay homage to the City Foundation Pillar situated in this temple, as well as to the protector of Vientiane, Ya Mai Simuong, and the Holy Spirit that guards the city.
On the following day, there is a big procession of wax castles in the afternoon to the That Luang stupa. Thousands of people including the high ranking official and residents dressed in their beautiful traditional costumes assemble to proceed with the wax castles from the That Luang esplanade to the stupa where they preceded 3 rounds around the stupa in order to pay homage to the Buddha and the stupa itself.
On the last day of the festival, which is the 15th day, there is a major alms giving ceremony taking place early in the morning. People get crowded holding their silver urns filled with sticky rice in banana leaves or different kinds of goodies to give alms to thousands of monks. The chanting of thousands of monks to worship the stupa and give blessing to devotees echoes in the air across the entire That Luang esplanade site.
For those interested in Lao culture, it is a good opportunity to observe the amazing civilization through Lao festivals. This occasion is also the best time to visit Laos, especially Vientiane. If you are looking for a great selection of places to stay with best offers, please visit Threeland Travel Laos and contact us for more information.