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Pucblic Holiday

Holiday in Cambodia
The Kingdom of Cambodia has a wealth of traditional and cultural festivals dated according to the Cambodian lunar calendar. All of these festivals are influenced by the concepts of Buddhism, Hinduism, and royal cultures. The festivals, which serve as a source of great joy, merriment and Cambodia’s national colors, play a major role in influencing tourists’ opinions, behaviors, and options. Most of these are a time of great rejoicing for the predominantly urban and the rural populace. Nowadays the whole nation unites in understanding its cultural values and traditions. On these pages, are some of the important celebrations organized during the year.
Khmer New Year (Cambodia)
The Khmer New Year, or 'Bon Chol Chhnam Thmei' in the Khmer language, is commonly celebrated on 13th April each year although sometimes the holiday may fall on the 14th April in keeping with the Cambodian lunar calendar. This marks the end of the harvest season when farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor and relax before the start of the rainy season. The New Year holidays last for three days 

During this time, people engage in traditional Khmer games; they paly such games as the Bas Angkunh 'seed throwing', Chaol Chhoung 'twisted-scarf throwing', Leak Kanséng 'twisted-scarf hide', tug of war, shuttlecock kicking, etc. Throughout the country, people merrily dance the traditional Khmer forms of the Ran Vong, Ram Kbach, Saravan, and Lam Leav in the open.

People in the world always say New Year celebrate their happy festival. They usually schedule and prepare it differently, depend on their belief and tradition. For Cambodian have hold it since past till the present.

The reason that cause to finish the old year for the are that: There have been some people believe that there is a story as following one time there were a person "KABEL MORHAPROHM" who asked three questions to "THORM BAL KOMA, the millionaire's on, who had known the three percepts of "TRAI VITH" and ail kinds of the animal's languages. They all had promised to cut the head of the person who failed the exam "THORM BAL" have no way to find the solution, he felled very hopeless, fortunately, there were two eagles which had spoken about these questions to make "THORM BAL" could find the way to settle the problems. The time of gambling arrived "THORM BAL" had spoken that:

1. In the morning, the happiness is on the face that is why all people have to wash their face.

2. In the afternoon, the happiness is on the breath to make the people take water to wash the breath.

3. In the evening, the happiness is on the foot to make the people wash their food in the evening.

The result had broken out "KABEL MORHAPROHM" had to cut his head to give to the oldest had take it go around PRAS SOMERU mountain about 60 minutes after they all bring it to put in the center of KUHA KUNTH MALAY of KAILA mountain. In the end of the year the 7 females angles had changed their turn to take the head and go around the mountain every year till the present. This is the reason to cause "SANG KRAN" or changing the old year into the New Year.|

Cambodian people are playing the Chaul Choung game in New Year Day

Some people have believed that for a period of one year the people always face the problems like diseases or serious obstacles to make them unhappy. When the one of the year they all had celebrated a great festival called "HAPPY NEW YEAR" and the people always prepare them-self, clean the house, and take food to offer the monks.

They wear new clothes and play popular games.

The festival usually is in 3 days period. The first day is "MOHA SANGKRAN" the second day is "VORNBORTH" and the third day is "THNGAI LIENG SAK". For that time they start to change the old year when the angle comes to get the duties from the former angle were schedule clearly.

WHEN IS THE KHMER NEW YEAR'S DAY CELEBRATED?
Since the period of Norkor Thom, the Khmer people used the Lunar calendar (The revolution of the moon), that why they dated Mekseh (name of the first lunar month, from mid-November to mid-December) as the Khmer New Year's month, and is the first month of the year. And Kadek (name of the last Lunar month) is the second one. 

After that, they turned to use the Solar calendar (The revolution of the sun) as the most, and they dated the Chetr (5th Lunar month) is the New Year's month, when the sun gets to the Mes Reasey. The Khmer New Year's day is often celebrated on the 13th April (Chetr), but sometime it is celebrated on the 14th April, because of the Solar calendar. The almanac which is base on the Solar calendar is called "Simple arrival or Sangkran Thormada.

And the almanac which is based on the Lunar calendar, because the Lunar calendar is relevant to the Buddha's speeches.

Buddhist devotees pour water over the statue of a revered Buddhist monk during the New Year Celebrations.

Beside, the Khmer New Year's day that is base on the Lunar calendar isn't regular, because we sometimes celebrate it in the night of the waxing moon (Khneut), or in the night of the waning moon. However, we usually celebrate it around one month.

It means that we don't do it before 4th Keut of Khe Pisak (name of the Solar day) of Khe Chetr and not after 4th Keut of Khe Pisak (name of the 6th Lunar month), so that some of the Khmer people celebrate their New Year's day in Khe Chetr, such as the documents written by Mr. Chio-Takran, Khmer people celebrate this celebration with playing the hand-scarf-throwing game and they gather the statues of Buddha from everywhere to bath. In the other hand, the inscription in stone at Preah Khan is also stated this.

Talking about there celebrations in this New Year's Day. The Khmer people celebrate them traditionally as below.

A few days before the Khmer New Year's day, they prepared some food, clean their house, bought some news and so on. When the New Year's Day comes, they prepare something such as 5 candles, 5 incenses, a pair of 5 Baysey, a pair of Baysey Baklam, a pair of Slathor (a ceremonial ornament made with a banana tree trunk bake), a tray of cigarettes, some flowers and some fruits to sacrifice to the new heaven. When every is ready, they sit together near that place and light the candles to pray for happiness from the new heaven and start to pray before breaking each other. On the other hand, we have different celebrations during these 3 days of New Year's Day.

On the first day, they take some food to offer the monks at the monastery in the evening, they gather the sand to build up a sandal mountain around the pagoda or around the bany tree in the early evening, and they some drink to the monks and invite them to bany.

On the second day, children give some new clothes and money to their parents and grandparents. They also give some gift to their maids and poor people. In the evening, they go to build up the sandal mountain and start to bany that they consider it a Cholamony Chedey and ask the monks to bony and offer them the food to dedicate this sin to the spirit of the ancestor.

In the morning of the third day, they also invite the monks to bany for the sandal mountain. And in the evening, they bath the monks and statue of Buddha. During this third day, the people also play some traditional games such as the hand-scarf-throwing game, they kick the nuts game, the tug of war game, trot dancing (Battambang, Siem Reap). They also dance some traditional dancing such as Rorm Vong, Rorm Khbach…. etc.

Royal Ploughing Ceremony
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, or 'Bon Chroat Preah Nongkoal' in the Khmer language, is solemnly celebrated at the beginning of the sowing and planting season. Every year in May, this cultural ceremony takes place at the park in front of the National Museum (next to the Royal Palace). Cambodia has deep connection with earth and farming. There is a deep astrological belief that royal oxen known in Khmer as Usapheak Reach, have an instrumental role in determining the fate of the agricultural harvest each year. 

Traditionally, the King Meak, representing the king of Cambodia, ploughs the field whilst the Queen, the Preah Mehuo, sows seeds from behind. The field is ceremoniously ploughed three times around. The royal servants then drive the royal oxen to seven golden trays containing rice, corn, sesame seeds, beans, grass, water, and wine to feed. The royal soothsayers interpret what the oxen have eaten and predict a series of events including epidemics, floods, good harvests, and excessive rainfall. At this festival, both men and women wear brightly colored Khmer traditional costume.

Pchum Ben Day or All Soul Day
Running for 15 days, usually from the end of September into October, this festival is dedicated to blessing the spirits of the dead and is one of the most culturally significant in Cambodia.  The exact date defers year to year as determined by the lunar calendar.  Each household visits their temple of choice and offers food to the monks.

Offering of food is a meritorious act and is one of the oldest and most common rituals of Buddhism. During the Pchum Ben festival, people bring food to the temple for the monks and to feed hungry ghosts who could be their late ancestors, relatives or friends. Pagodas are usually crowded with people taking their turn to make offerings and to beg the monks to pray for their late ancestors and loved ones. Many remain behind at the temple to listen to Buddhist sermons.

Footnote:-
"Hungry ghost" is one of the six modes of existence in the ‘Wheel of Life’. Hungry ghosts or ‘Preta’ which means ‘departed ones’ in Sanskrit, are pitiable creatures with huge, empty stomachs and pinhole mouths; their necks are so thin they cannot swallow, so they remain hungry.  It is believed that beings are reborn as hungry ghosts because of their greed, envy and jealousy.

Cambodians leave food offerings on altars and around temple grounds for hungry ghosts.  Pchum Ben is a festival that features food and entertainment for such hungry ghosts.

Water Festival
The Water Festival, a spectacle to behold, is probably the most exorbitant festival held each year in November. It is usually celebrated for three days, i.e. the 14th and 15th of the waxing moon and the 1st of the waning moon of the month of Kadek. The 15th of the waxing moon is the last full moon day. 

The festival ushers in the fishing season, marks a change in the flow of the Tonlé Sap and the ebbing-water season, and is seen as thanksgiving to the Mekong River for providing the country with fertile land and abundant fish.

At the height of the rainy season, the water of the Mékong River forces the Tonlé Sap to reverse its current and to flow up to the Tonlé Sap Lake. As the water of the Mékong River begins to subside, the swollen Tonlé Sap Lake flows back to the Mékong River through the Tonlé Sap and empties into the sea, which leaves behind vast quantities of fish. This, indeed, is a remarkable phenomenon of the Tonlé Sap.

Public Holidays
The Kingdom of Cambodia has a great wealth of traditional and cultural festivals dated according to the Cambodian lunar calendar. All of these festivals are influenced by the concepts of Buddhism, Hinduism, and royal cultures. Most of these are great rejoicings of the urban and rural populace, held annually as follows.

International New Year’s Day
On the eve of the International New Year’s Day, the Ministry of Tourism will host the Countdown Day in front of the NagaWorld Hotel in Phnom Penh. This festival will be attended by officials from all public and private sectors to celebrate the International New Year’s Day.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Victory Day over the Genocidal Regime
The Victory Day commemorates the end of the Pol Pot Genocidal Regime. This important ceremony is marked by a military parade, carnival floats, and national achievements. All over the city, flags and bunting as a sign of national pride adorn the front of shops and houses in all the main thoroughfares.

Monday, January 07, 2013
Meak Bochea Day, or “Buddha’s Preachment Commemoration Ceremony”
The Meak Bochea Day is held during the full moon of the month of Meak in commemoration of the spontaneous gathering of the monks to listen to the Buddha’s preaching.

Monday, February 25, 2013
International Women’s Day
 International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women and marking respect, appreciation and love towards women.

Friday, March 08, 2013
Cambodian New Year’s Day
The Khmer New Year Day, called “Bon Chol Chhnam Thmei Khmer” in the Khmer language, is celebrated on 13 April in keeping with the Cambodian lunar calendar. The New Year holidays last for three days. This festival marks the end of the harvest season when Cambodian farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor and relax before the start of the rainy season.

Sunday, April 14, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
International Labor Day
International Labor Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. Labor Day has its origins in the labor union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Royal Birthday of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Baromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia 

This celebration is triumphantly held inside the Royal Palace and fireworks are prominently displayed on Tonlé Sap from 13-15 May to revere King Norodom Sihamoni, the son of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, Preahmahaviraksat. He was born on 14 May 1953 in Phnom Penh Capital.

Monday, May 13, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Visakh Bochea Day, or “Buddha’s Birth Commemoration Ceremony”
The Visakh Bochea Day, called “Bon Visakh Bochea” in the Khmer language, commemorates the anniversary of the birth and illumination of the Buddha.

Friday, May 24, 2013
Royal Plowing Ceremony
The Royal Plowing Ceremony, called “Bon Chroat Preah Nongkoal” in the Khmer language, is solemnly celebrated at the beginning of the sowing and planting season. Every year, in May, this cultural ceremony takes place at Meru Field in front of the National Museum (next to the Royal Palace).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
International Children’s Day and Cambodian Children’s Day
The International Children’s Day marks children’s liberation from the brutal suppression and threats of violence of fascists.

Saturday, June 01, 2013
Royal Birthday of Samdech Preah Maha Ksatrei Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, Cambodian Queen-Mother with Freedom, Dignity and Happiness

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Constitution Day
The Constitution Day marks the proclamation of the constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia issued on 24 September 1993.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Phchum Ben Day, or “Spirit Commemoration Ceremony”
 On 4 October, the Spirit Commemoration Ceremony, called “Bon Phchum Ben” in the Khmer language, is one of the most significant cultural and religious events of the year jointly celebrated for the spirits of the dead including ancestors and relatives.

Thursday, October 03, 2013
Friday, October 04, 2013
Saturday, October 0quot;sans-serif5, 2013
Commemoration Day to the Royal Soul of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, Preahmahaviraksat, King-Father of the Cambodian National Independence, Territorial Integrity and Unity

This celebration is triumphantly held inside the Royal Palace and at royal governmental institutions on 15 October every year to revere His Majesty King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, or His Majesty Preah Barom Ratanakaodh as his posthumous name, a former influential king of Cambodia. He was born in Phnom Penh Capital, Cambodia, on 31 October 1922, and he died in Beijing Capital, the People’s Republic of China, on 15 October 2012.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Paris Peace Accord Day
The Paris Peace Accord Day marks the agreements on a comprehensive political settlement of the Cambodia conflict signed by Cambodia in Paris, France on 23 October 1991.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Royal Coronation of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Baromneath Norodom Sihamoni,the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Independence Day
The National Independence Day takes place at the site of the Independence Monument at the junction of Preah Norodom Blvd. and Preah Sihanouk Blvd. to commemorate independence Cambodia gained from France on 9 November 1953. This important ceremony is marked by a military parade, carnival floats, and national achievements. All over the city, flags and bunting as a sign of national pride adorn the front of shops and houses in all the main thoroughfares

Saturday, November 09, 2013
Regatta, Procession of Illuminated Floats, Salutation to the Moon, and Offering of Bananas and Ambok

The festivities are held in front of the Royal Palace, marking a change in the flow of Tonlé Sap, the fishing and ebbing-water season, and thanksgiving to the Mekong River for providing the country with fertile land and abundant fish. Moreover, the boat racing marks the strength of the powerful Khmer marine forces in the ancient Khmer Empire. Provincial residents always save up to visit the capital to join in the festivities.

Saturday, November 16, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
International Human Rights’ Day
The International Human Rights’ Day marks the universal declaration of human rights adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948 in Paris, France.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

 


Holiday in Laos

JANUARY
International New Year's Day
Date: 1 January 2013

FEBRUARY
Wat Phou Festival
Date: 25 February 2013
Venue: Champasack Province
The Wat Phou festival is annually held in the full moon of the 3rd month of lunar calendar, on the grounds of the enchanting pre-Angkorian Wat Phou remains in Champasack. There are elephants racing, buffaloes fighting, cocks fighting and performances of Lao traditional musics and dances. The trade fair showcasing the products from the southern province of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam is also held.


Date: 25 February 2013
Venue: Khammouane Province
This religious festival is held at Sikhottabong stupa, located about 8km south of Thakhek. A trade fair also held in the festival featured the display and sales of products of more than 130 booths from nine districts of this central province along with goods from neighboring Thailand.

The Elephant Festival and Trade Fairs
 Date: 15-19 February 2013 (Trade Fairs)
 Date: 17-19 February 2013 (Elephant Festival)
 Venue: Sayabouly District, Sayabouly Province
The event features a competition of 60 brightly adorned elephants competing for being the "Elephant of the Year", along with elephant processions and bathing, mahout (elephant training) demonstrations, traditional Buddhist blessings, fun fairs, night markets, and live music and dance performances.

Boun Khao Chi (Makhaboucha)
Date: 25 Febuary 2013
Venue: Nationwide
A ceremony is held at the "Wat" (temple) in the morning for purpose, when a special "bread made of sticky rice" is offered. This festival is held during the third full moon of the lunar calendar.

MARCH
Boun Khoun Khao or Khoun Lan (Rice Ceremony)
Date: March
Venue: Nationwide
This is a harvest festival. "Basi" ceremony is performed in order to give thanks to the land .

Boun Pha Vet
Date: March
Venue: Nationwide
A ceremony of offering to have one's future read from a piece of paper drawn, during the three day-three night festival. At the Boun Pha Vet, people get a piece of paper where their future are written. The ceremony last three days-three nights.

APRIL
"Boun Pi Mai" Lao's New Year
Date: 14-16 April 2013
Venue: Nationwide
The new year celebration includes especially beautified and the most colorful parade wearing traditional Lao costumes with music and dance, the procession of the sacred Prabang Buddha image, and the Miss New Year beauty contest will be shown.

Pimai Lao in Luang Prabang
Pimai Lao (the Lao New Year, 14-16th April), is one of the most important dates in the Lao calendar. As well as being a time of celebration and endless fun, It has also become synonymous with holiday, the celebration of Lao identity, the reinforcement of family bonds and an opportunity to reflect on the year ahead.

Although the Lao new year is celebrated in joyous spirit throughout the country, nowhere hosts more ancient traditions and colorful pageantry than the northern heritage city of Luang Prabang. Although officially a three day festival, the party always goes on for at least a week.

Officially the last day of the year, 13th April is traditionally a day of renewal, the main symbol of which is water. Buddha images are washed, temples repainted and homes cleaned from top to bottom. In the afternoon, young people pour water on the hands of their elders and ask for their blessing in the year ahead. Much like a New Year toast in western cultures, this is sometimes followed by a short speech from parents or grandparents. During the speech, elders give their blessing to their family, as well as highlighting important family events such as births, deaths or marriages.

The blessing of relatives, friends and even strangers with water continues throughout the festival. Traditionally, you wish someone ‘Happy New Year’ (‘Sok Dii Pimai’), before pouring water over their head, symbolizing the washing away of sins committed in the past year. These days, water is also shot through water guns or thrown from buckets and pans, creating and enormous water-fight that’s impossible to avoid.

For tourists, most of the highlights of Pimai Lao take place on the second day of festivities (14th April), known as ’the day of no day’; a day of transition that is neither part of the old nor the new year.

Highlights
See thousands of sand stupas on the banks of the Mekong, with their colorful banners and offerings, designed to stop evil spirits from passing into the new year (14th April).

Don’t miss the procession of Prabang, one of Laos’ most celebrated Buddha images, which gave Luang Prabang its name in 1512 (‘Luang’ meaning great or oryal). The statue is carried in procession from the former Royal Palace to Vat Mai, followed by hundreds of monks in their bright orange shrouds. It’s when the statue is installed at Vat Mai that people can pour water on it, before collecting it as sacred water for blessing friends and family. On arrival at the temple, Prabang is placed in a sim (an alter similar to a chapel) outside the temple. There, he receives a final blessing from the alleged ancestors of the first Lao people.

No Lao festival would be complete without its beauty contest, of which Nang Sangkhan (Miss New Year) is the most famous of all. The procession of the beauty queen is spectacular and hugely popular. From across the country teenage hopefuls sponsored by leading Lao brands, flock to Luang Prabang hoping to catch the eye of the judges. Traditionally, she must be a virgin and fifteen or over. The winner is announced on 11th April. The new Nang Sangkhan is then carried in procession on an elaborately decorated float (14th and 15th April).

For an authentic display of traditional Lao music, dance and costume, head to the National Museum on 15th April. For music lovers, there’s also a range of instruments you probably never knew existed.

During Pimai Lao the party goes on until late. But be prepared to get soaked. Flower is also added to the water, so expect to resemble a half-baked pizza before the end of the day!

Baci (15th April)
For many Lao people, the belief in kwan (spirits which inhabit the human body, as well as animals, plants and inanimate objects) are an important part of the Lao New Year. On the first day of the new year, with transition comes the risk of the kwan leaving the body, exposing them to any number of bad omens. To allow the kwan to return to the body, a ceremony known as a Baci or Soo Kwan is carried out.

First, offerings are made with participants sitting around a table. A chant led by an important figure in the village or family is then repeated collectively to call the kwan to return. Praticipants then tie white thread around each other’s wrists, symbolically binding the kwan to the body, while wishing them good fortune in the year ahead. The ceremony ends by eating a small meal together.

Tips for a great Pimai experience
1. Luang Prabang’s Pimai Lao celebrations are hugely popular, so book flights and accommodation well in advance.

 2. You are certain to get wet during Pimai Lao. Always keep passports, mobile phones and other valuables in a waterproof container, or leave them somewhere safe.

 3. During Laos’ hottest season, most welcome getting soaking wet. But if you know that’s something you wouldn’t enjoy, don’t plan to visit the middle of April. Otherwise, we’ll see you there! 

MAY
Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival)
Date: May
Venue: Vientiane Province (Phon Hong District) and nationwide
The festival is a call for rain and  a celebratiion of feritlity. In the afternoon, people gather in the fields on the outskirts of villages and towns to launch self-made firework rockets. Different communities compete for the best decorated and the highest travelling rocket. Men disguised as women perform vaudeville acts using wooden phalli in order to anger th gods. As revenge, the gods are expected to send thunderstorms.

What is Boun Bang Fai?
 The Boun Bang Fai or Rocket Festival, marks the sixth month of the lunar calendar. During the festival, rockets are fired into the air to ask the god of rain to help nature a good harvest free from drought, floods or pests.

Traditionally, rockets are made by stuffing gunpowder into elaborately decorated bamboo. But today, many different materials are used, including glass or metal piping. They come in a variety of sizes from very small to very large.

When ready, the rockets are carried to a communal launch-pad. There are numerous types, each serving an individual purpose. The rocket designed to carry prayers to the rain god during Boun Bang Fai, is known as a Hang or Meun-Saen. The Ma is used to mark the passing of someone important. And Chi Nay, Ta Lai and Phu, mark the beginning of important ceremonies and festivals.

The Celebration

 Prior to Boun Bang Fai, each village puts together a committee to organize all aspects of the festival, including inviting other villages, introducing rules and safety measures and organizing pirzes for the best rockets.

On the day of the festival, the Boun Bang Fai becomes a toughly contested completion, which generally only bamboo rockets are allowed to enter. First, each rocket is inspected and categorized. Scores are given for the highest flyer, the most beautiful decoration, and the most entertaining team; a category in which just about anything goes, from elaborate masks to men wearing women’s clothes, while women dance and sing. If any of the rockets fail to explode, the team’s technician and leader are forced to drink muddy water or Satho (rice whisky).

Throughout the celebrations, hosts prepare a variety of traditional food for their guests.

These days, the size and location of the event is controlled due to numerous safety concern, including limited space and overlaps with aircraft routes. But nevertheless, most continue to celebrate the festival in one way or another.

In Vientiane, Boun Bang Fai is organized in the outskirts of the city of avoid damage to property and help keep participants safe. The most famous events are held in the surrounding villages of Nason, Natham, Thongmang, Kern, Pakhanhoung and many others.

Boun Visakhaboucha
Date: 24 May 2013
Venue: Nationwide
This festival is held during the sixth full moon of the lunar calendar for the Buddha. Candlelight processions are held in temples to mark the birth date of Buddha.

JUNE
International Children's Day and National Tree Planting Day
Date: 1 June 2013
Venue: Nationwide

AUGUST
Asalahaboucha Day and Boun Khao Pansa Festival (Buddhist Lent)
Date: 22 July 2013
Venue: Vientiane Capital and nationwide
The beginning of the Buddhist Lent. During the next three-month period, monks spend most of their time in prayer and meditation are restricted from spending nights in other temples other than their own.

SEPTEMBER
Boun Khao Padabdin Rice Growing Festival and Boat Racing Festival
Date: 4 September 2013
Venue: Luang Prabang Province
At the Khao Padabdin ceremony day, people visit local temples to make offerings to dead ancestors as well as to share merit-making. This festival includes boat racing on the Nam Khan River and a trade fair in Luang Prabang World Heritage town.

Boun Khao Salak Ancestor Festival Day
Date: 19 September 2013
Venue: Nationwide
This is for offerings to be made for dead ancestors to obtain merit. Popular and exciting longboat-racing competitions are held to celebrate the River. This festival is held during the tenth full moon of the lunar calendar.

Boat Racing Festival
Date: 19 September 2013
Venue: Khammouane Province
This is held on the Sebangfai River. At the same occasion a trade fair of agricultural products, local handicrafts, Traditional Lao music and dance performance are organized. In this festival, citizens donate offerings to dead ancestors to gain merit.

OCTOBER
Naga Rocket
Date: 19 October 2013
Venue: Bolikhamxay Province
The festival is a call for rain and  a celebratiion of feritlity. In the afternoon, people gather in the fields on the outskirts of villages and towns to launch self-made firework rockets. Different communities compete for the best decorated and the highest travelling rocket. Men disguised as women perform vaudeville acts using wooden phalli in order to anger th gods. As revenge, the gods are expected to send thunderstorms.

What is Boun Bang Fai?
 The Boun Bang Fai or Rocket Festival, marks the sixth month of the lunar calendar. During the festival, rockets are fired into the air to ask the god of rain to help nature a good harvest free from drought, floods or pests.

Traditionally, rockets are made by stuffing gunpowder into elaborately decorated bamboo. But today, many different materials are used, including glass or metal piping. They come in a variety of sizes from very small to very large.

When ready, the rockets are carried to a communal launch-pad. There are numerous types, each serving an individual purpose. The rocket designed to carry prayers to the rain god during Boun Bang Fai, is known as a Hang or Meun-Saen. The Ma is used to mark the passing of someone important. And Chi Nay, Ta Lai and Phu, mark the beginning of important ceremonies and festivals.

The Celebration

 Prior to Boun Bang Fai, each village puts together a committee to organize all aspects of the festival, including inviting other villages, introducing rules and safety measures and organizing pirzes for the best rockets.

On the day of the festival, the Boun Bang Fai becomes a toughly contested completion, which generally only bamboo rockets are allowed to enter. First, each rocket is inspected and categorized. Scores are given for the highest flyer, the most beautiful decoration, and the most entertaining team; a category in which just about anything goes, from elaborate masks to men wearing women’s clothes, while women dance and sing. If any of the rockets fail to explode, the team’s technician and leader are forced to drink muddy water or Satho (rice whisky).

Throughout the celebrations, hosts prepare a variety of traditional food for their guests.

These days, the size and location of the event is controlled due to numerous safety concern, including limited space and overlaps with aircraft routes. But nevertheless, most continue to celebrate the festival in one way or another.

In Vientiane, Boun Bang Fai is organized in the outskirts of the city of avoid damage to property and help keep participants safe. The most famous events are held in the surrounding villages of Nason, Natham, Thongmang, Kern, Pakhanhoung and many others. 

Boun Ok Phansa and Boat Racing Festival
Date: 19 October 2013
Venue: Vientiane Capital
Lai Hua Fai, Festival of the Boats of Light
On the first day at dawn, donation and offerings are made at temples around the city. In the evening, candlelight processions are held around the temples and hundred of colorful floats decorated with flower, incense and candle are set adrift down the Mekong river in thanksgiving to the river spirit. The next day, a popular and exciting boat racing competition is held on the Mekong river.

Lai Hua Fai, Festival of the Boats of Light

 Lai Hua Fai means “floating boats of light downstream”. This festival is celebrated on the night of the End of Lent. It is held all over Laos, especially where there is a river. The festival in Vientiane attracts big crowds of devotee and tourists but the one in Luang Prabang is even more spectacular. Every family makes a small round container, using banana leaves on a section of banana trunk. They put flowers, incense sticks, candles, betel nuts and other condiments for chewing and sometimes food and money. At the bank of the river, they light the candles, say prayers and send the boat of light floating away. The spectacle of thousands of boats of light with their twinkling candles on the Mekong River is most moving.

This rite has several aims. One is in homage to the river, especially the Mekong River, which literally means Mother of All Things. It is also to ask the river and all divinities inhabiting it for forgiveness for disrespect or misuse of its water. It is also a way to send away all negativity such as sickness, bad luck, shortcoming and failure.

Lai Hua Fai is also aimed at sending offerings to the dead. But most of all, it is a homage to the Lord Buddha. Temples and villages build their boats of light, which are much bigger and more elaborately decorated. Two types of boats of light are built for that night: the normal Hua Fai, which is to be floated down the river, and Hua Fai Khowk, which will stay on the temple ground. Both are made of bamboo and coloured paper and can be several meters long. In Luang Prabang, each temple and each village send a boat to join the procession on the main street leading to Vat Xieng Thong. Once at this beautiful 16th  century temple, the boats are lined up and a jury awards prizes to the most beautiful boats. After that, one by one, the boats are brought down the staircases of Vat Xieng Thong, reminiscent of a scene from the film Fitzcaraldo when people carry a boat from the mountain down to the river. Then they are delicatedly put on the water and floated down the Mekong River among thousands of small individual banana leaf skiffs in a breathtaking sea of lights.

Venue: Sayabouly Province
That marks the end of the monks' three-month-fast and retreat during the rainy season. At dawn, donation and offerings are made at the temples. Prayers are chanted by the monks, and at dusk candlelight procession wind round the temples. Concurrently, hundreds of decorated candlelit-floats, made of paper, are set adrift in the rivers. These carry offerings and incense, transforming the river into a fragrant snake of sparkling.

NOVEMBER
That Luang Festival and Trade Fair in Vientiane Capital
Date: 11-17 November 2013
Venue: Vientiane Capital
This religious festival is held in and around That Luang Stupa, the National Symbol of Laos. It is a three-day religious festival celebrated at full moon in November. It begins with pre-dawn gathering of ten thousands of pilgrims from Laos and Thailand at That Luang who listen to prayers and sermons chanted by hundreds of monks representing all Lao wats. The festival ends with a huge fireworks display.

Boun That Luang Festival of the Grand Stupa
 The That or Stupa is found in different shapes and sizes in every monastery in the world, especially in Laos. The Stupa, which is composed of three levels: the base, the body and the spire, is the symbol of the Cosmos. The most important ones are shrines to relics of Buddha. That Luang, The Grand Stupa, in Vientiane is sanctuary to the Lord’s hair and bosom bone. It was built over an ancient stupa  in the 16th century, by King Setthathirath when he moved the capital of the Lane Xang Kingdom from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. It has since become the symbol of Laos and is profoundly revered by all Lao People.

The That Luang religious festival last three days It starts with the wax castle procession at Vat Simuong  and end with a procession around the stupa. Thousands of monks and tns of thousands of pilgrims come from all over the country and even from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to attend the festival.

One week before the religious festival, a huge international trade fair features goods and exhibitions from all over the world. The religious festival starts with the procession at Vat Simuong to worship the City’s foundation pillar and pay homage to Nya Mae Simuong or Lady Simuong, a pregnant woman, inspired by the divinities, jumped into the hold in which the city pillar was about to be planted and was thus crushed to death. She has become, since, the protector of Vientiane and inhabitants devote a special cult to her. The procession gather Phasat Pheung (wax castles) of banana trunks and decorated with flowers made of wax. The Phasat, which re commissioned by families or villages in and procession around Vientiane, are carried three times around the Sin and then offered to the temple. This procession is very spontaneous and colourful and ends with fireworks, which symbolizes an offering of flowers of light to Lord Buddha.

The next day, at 1:00 pm, a bigger and more elaborate procession brings more wax castles through the Eastern Gate of the That Luang cloister. The wax castles are carried three times around the Grand Stupa and offered to the shrine.

On the last day of the festival, as early as 5:00 am, thousands of devotees gather in the cloister and around it, on the esplanade for the Takbat, the morning offering to the monks. After the ceremony, each family gather at stalls to eat Khao Poun, the national rice noodle soup and Tom Kai, chicken soup.

Early in the afternoon, there is the ritual game of Teekhee, a polo game traditionally played in the Kingdom of Vientiane and believed to be exported to Burma and later to England. In the past, the game was between a team of officials and a team of villagers

Handicraft Festival
Date: 1-7 November 2013
Venue: ITECC, Vientiane Capital
Over 370 producers have reaffirmed their participation at the International Trade Exhibitionand Convention Centre (ITECC). Events of the fest include silk, cotton, rattan, wood, silver, and pottery products as well as Lao traditional foods demonstration, handicraft products contest, fashion show of Lao cloths and Japan Kimono.

Lao Handicraft Festival 2012
 Each year, over 200 artists from around the country travel to Vientiane to participate in the festival and sell an extensive variety of products including textiles, jewellery, non-timber and recycled products, pottery and many other cultural items. Beautiful handmade pieces are on sale to suit all budgets, from inexpensive souvenirs to exquisite high-end  collectables. Food products such as coffee, tea, oils and spices produced in Lao are also a key feature of the event.

As well as shopping, visitors attending the festival can also enjoy fashion shows, craft demonstrations, workshops and product design competitions. The festival is a platform for artisans to display and demonstrate craftsmanship that has been passed down from one generation to the next. As well as selling their work, artists who exhibit their work at the festival enjoy the opportunity to share and celebrate their cultural heritage with visitors.

 Thousands of miles, from Laos on the fashion cat-walks of New York, London and Paris, a fashion trend is beginning to take centre stage in 2012 : “ethnic and tribal” styles. Ethnic patterns, motifs and techniques still have a timeless appeal. But while international fashion may take inspiration from tribal designs and motifs, Lao handicraft are authentic reflections of hundreds (if not thousands) of years of culture, artistry and skill.

Lao has 49 officially recognized ethnic groups. Each group has its own unique craft styles and traditions, particularly noticeable through their distinctive traditional clothing.

 The Akha ethnic group (also known as Ikor), who migrated from Yunnan in southern China and settled in the mountainous areas of northern Laos over the last 200 years, make their own traditional clothing. The women grow and spin cotton or hemp to make cloth. They then use natural indigo dye, before weaving the thread into cloth and decorating it with colourful embroidery. To top it all off, women wear beautiful ornate headdresses.

Visitors to Laos will notice that many women still wear a traditional tube skirt or sinh. From office workers to students, “high-society” to rural villagers, the elegant sinh remains both popular and fashionable.

The sinh is usually made of silk, cotton or a combination of fibers and is woven with motifs that reflect the ethnic culture of a community or region, or the occasion for which it is intended. Traditionally, a sinh is completely handmade; from the hand spinning of the silk or cotton threads to the dyeing process, preparation of the pattern and loom, and finally; hand weaving.

 As handicraft artisans struggle to compete in an increasingly globalized world, the Lao Handicraft Festival help to preserve and promote the country’s ancient craft heritage. Through the festival, the LHA aims to encourage and honour Lao artists by recognizing their accomplishments and dedication to their craft.

 Behind the scenes of the festival, the LHA runs seminars to help artists develop their knowledge of business management, marketing, product design and quality. Limited access to a viable market still poses a major challenge for rural handicraft producers. But one week at the LHF can dramatically increase their sales and income. Thanks to the festival, some even develop business relationships that lead to repeat orders and contracts for popular products.

DECEMBER
Lao National Day
Date: 2 December 2013
Venue: Nationwide

Hmong New Year
Date: Beginning of December
Venue: Vientiane, Oudomxay, Xiengkhouang, Luang Prabang
The Hmong New Year celebration features colorful displays of traditional costumes made from green, red and white silk and ornate silver jewelry. Music from traditional Hmong instruments such as the teun-flute, Hmong-style khene pipe and leave blowing is enjoyed. Other festivities include the Makkhon (cotton-ball) throwing ceremony, ox fighting, spinning-top races and crossbow demonstrations.

That Inhang Festival
Date:
Venue: Savannakhet Province
This festival wil be held on the grounds of the splendid that Inhang Stupa which is located just outside the city of Savannakhet. An international trade fair will include exhibitions of tourism products from Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The fair will also include the performance of Traditional Lao music and dance, as well as a sports competition featuring football, boxing, tennis and local traditions, including a druming competition.


Holiday in Myanmar

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January

Ananda Pagoda Festival
quot;rsquo;s hair and bosom bone. It was built over an ancient stupa/span Date : Full Moon of Pyatho to 15th Waning of Pyatho
Location : Bagan
Duration : 15 days
This is one of the most famous pagoda festivals in Bagan; one of the Asia's most amazing and richest archaeological sites. The Great Ananda Pagoda Festival is said to have been going on continuously since the Bagan period. Long ago, people from many villages around Bagan came to the festival in bullock-carts and made camps for the whole duration of the festival. Even now some villagers still come to the festival in the traditional way. Visitors can definitely enjoy the traditional lifestyle of the locals of Bagan during this festival.

Kachin Manaw Festival (Kachin New Year Festival)
Date : Usually around first week of January
Location : Myitkyina, Kachin State.
Duration : 1 day
The Kachins; one of the major races of Myanmar, take great part in this festival and many Kachins from abroad come back to meet and dance at this special event. The Manaw dance is performed at Manaw Festival which originated as part of the Nat or spirit worship of the past.

Naga New Year Festival  
Date : Usually January 14 to 16
Location : Either Lathe or Layshi, Savgaing Region
Duration : 3 days
Naga New Year Festival is one of the rarest ceremonies in Myanmar. There are more than 49 different clans with their own distinctive dresses and dialects. They usually gather annually to celebrate the New Year which falls on January 15. Package tours are available to visit the Naga New Year Festival of Myanmar.
 

February

Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival
Date : Begins on 5th Waxing of Tabodwe
Location : Shwe Settaw, Megwe Region, Central Myanmar
Duration : 11 day
There are two pagodas which enshrine footprints of the Buddha. The site is on the bank of Mann Creek, where bamboo cabins are erected every year for local travelers to enjoy cool swims during the heat of summer.

Kyaik Khauk Pagoda Festival
Date      : 8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabodwe
Location : Thanlyin, near Yangon
Duration : 8 day
One of the famous pagoda festivals around Yangon City. Most of the activities of Pagoda Festivals are evening entertainments such as Zat (Drama). Anyient, Stage Show and Movies shown in the open air the whole night everyday.

Maha Muni Pagoda Festival (Mandalay)
Date : 14th Waxing and Full Moon Day of Tabodwe 
Location : Mandalay
Duration : 2 days
Maha Muni Buddha image is highly venerated as it is said to be made in front of Buddha Himself, and thus its face is most revered. The image is completely covered with 15 cm-thick gold. February is the coldest month in Myanmar and at the Maha Muni Pagoda Festival Devotees light bonfires and cook huge pans of sticky rice with ginger, coconut and sesame to offer to monks.

Htamane (Glutinous Rice Festival)
Date       : Full Moon Day of Tabodwe
Location : Throughout the country
Duration : 1 da
This is a competition between teams of men for donation of Glutinous Rice to the Great Lord Buddha in early morning on Full Moon Day. There are lots of people enjoy watching the demonstrations and competition of cooking glutinous rice and after finished. Glutinous rice is distributed as donation to people and followed by the prize giving ceremony for the winners.

Ko Gyi Kyaw Spirit Festival
Date : 3rd Waxing to 10th Waxing of Tabaung 
Location : Pakhan, Yayzagyo Township
Duration : 8 days
It is enjoyable to see the singing and dancing of the worshippers to Ko Gyi Kyaw; a happy spirit who loves to drink and gamble. This annual festival in his honour is celebrated in his home town; Yayzagyo, Mandalay region.

Novitiation Ceremony
Date : During the months of Tabodwe and Taboung (school holidays, mostly in summer holidays in March and April before the water festival) 
Location : Throughout the country
Duration : 2 day
It is deemed the most important duty that parents owe to their son by letting him go forth and embrace the legacy of the Buddha join the Sangha as novice and become immersed in the teachings of Buddha at least for a short while. Novitiation ceremony is the unique characteristics in Myanmar. The ceremony usually celebrates during the school holidays. A formal Novitiation Ceremony involves a parade around the pagodas with boys all dressed up as princes.

Shwe Nattaung Pagoda Festival
Date : 8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung 
Location : Shwe Taung, Bago Region
Duration : 8 days
This is one of the largest pagoda festivals in this part of Myanmar and many local pilgrims arrive by bullock-carts from the surrounding villages. This pagoda is said to be built in the Pyu Period.

Maw Tin Zun Pagoda Festival
Date : 8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung 
Location : Laputta Township, Southwest Coast of Myanmar
Duration : 8 days
This is the only seaside Pagoda Festival which attracts many people and it can be accessed from Yangon by a pleasant boat ride to Pathein, an interesting delta town famous for its parasols.

Inn Daw Gyi Shwe Myitzu Pagoda Festival
Date : 8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung
Location : Laputta Township, Southwest Coast of Myanmar
Duration : 8 day
This is the only seaside Pagoda Festival which attracts many people and it can be accessed from Yangon by a pleasant boat ride to Pathein, an interesting delta town famous for its parasols.

Bawgyo Pagada Festival
Date : 10th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung
Location : Thibaw Township, Southern Shan State
Duration : 6 day
It is a famous historic pagoda festival in Shan State of Myanmar. Not only the people from Shan State but also the ones from the middle part of Myanmar take part in that festival. To observe Shan tradition, custom and culture, which are slightly different from the tradition of the middle park of Myanmar, is quite good while celebrating in the festival.  

Zalun Pyi-Taw-Pyan Buddha Image Festiva
Date : 8th Waxing To Full Moon Day of Tabaung
Location : Zalun, Ayeyawady Region
Duration : 8 days
The colonialists who had occupied lower Myanmar took this Buddha Image to England with the intention of using the bronze in their mint. According to legend they could neither melt it nor break it with hammers, and the Queen was said to have suffered nagging headache and nightmares. She ordered that the statue be returned to the place from where it was taken. After sending back it to Myanmar, she recovered from the suffering. In memory of its having been taken abroad and having been brought back, it became famous as the Man Aung Myin Pyitawpyan Buddha Image (the statue that was returned from abroad).  

Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Festival
Date : 11th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung
Location : Pindaya, Southern Shan State
Duration : 5 days
Shan, Pa O, Palaung, Taung Yoe, Intha, Danu groups residing around Pindaya come and camp under the huge banyan trees to take part in the festival. The Pindaya Cave houses hundreds of Buddha Images, old and some new. During the festival time, thousands of devotees come from villages around the area to the cave. It is a joyous scene, people coming in groups by car, some coming in a huge line of traditional bullock-carts. The tribals circle the ox-carts, and in the middle, people do their cooking and rest for the night during the festival. 

Shwe Myet Hman Pagoda Festival
Date : 13th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung 
Location : Shwetaung, Bago Region
Duration : 3day
People enjoy celebrating Shwe Myet Hman Pagoda Festival annually. People of Buddhist can pay obeisance and others can observe the Buddha Image, only one having spectacles, that is very wonderful in Myanmar. The products of Pyay and it’s environ, the traditional handicrafts from various places of Myanmar are available during the festival. 

Kekku Pagoda Festiva
Date : Begins on 14th Waxing of Tabaung
Location : Kekku Ancient Pagoda Complex, near Taunggy, Southern Shan State
Duration : 3day
A cluster of more than 3000 pagodas, said to be from Bagan period, but in the Yun Shan style, are grouped on a small hillock overlooking the Hopon Valley. Pa O people flock to the festival in their best costumes to pay homage to the pagoda on the full-moon day of Tabaung. The best time to see this is at dawn, on the full–moon day, when villagers come. 

Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda Festival
Date : Full Moon Day to 8 Waning Day of Tabaung
Location : Shwe Sar Yan Village, Patheingyi, Mandalay Region
Duration : 9 days
Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda is easily accessible by car, being on the main Mandalay-Lashio Highway. The Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda Festival is a very interesting festival indeed: a typical rural fair, bringing many visitors from not only the outlaying villages but also from faraway. The main attractions of this festival are the folk toys woven out of dried palm fronds. Beside the Pagoda is also a 17th century pagoda, Po Kalar Gu, which houses many beautiful mural paintings.

Shwedagon Pagoda Festiva
Date : Full Moon Day of Tabaung 
Location : Yangon
Duration : Approximately one week preceding the full moon day
Shwe Dagon Pagoda is the most well known pagoda in Myanmar and this Pagoda Festival is one of the most visited festivals for pilgrims all over the country. There is a competition to weave the holy robes using traditional looms to be offered to the Buddha Images at the four corners of the pagoda before dawn. Monks recite the Holy Scriptures 24 hours continuously throughout the duration of the festival, Buddhist devotees pay homage every day and their donations go towards the preservation of the Pagoda.  

Alaungdaw Khathapa Pagoda Festiva
Date : Full Moon Day of Tabaung
Location : Alaungdaw Khathapa National Park, Sagaing Region
Duration : 1day
The Alaungdaw Khathapa shrine is located in a National Park in Yinmarbin Township, Sagaing Region. It is crowded with the local people from surrounding area and far distances. The festival is held by lighting to the Pagoda and National Cave. People go there not only for just pilgrimage but also for observing the nature as it is one of the renowned ecotourism sites of Myanmar. 
 

March

Panguni Utram (Full Moon Day of Panguni Month of Tamil People)
Date : Full Moon Day of Tabaung or Tagu (March or April)
Location : Sri Angala Eswari Munieswar Swamy Temple, Pelikha Village, Kyauk Tan Township, Yangon Region
Duration : 10 Days
Festival, main festival falls on Full Moon Day Panguni Utram is the main religious festivals of Hindu people in Myanmar, held in the compound of Sri Angala Eswari Munieswar Swamy Temple, Pelikha Village Kyauk Tan Township which was built in 1862. The ritual attracts many participants and even more spectators with the performance of fire walking, many of who wait long hours to witness relatives or friend perform. After walking over the hot coals, the devotees wade through a pit filled with goat’s milk, then rub their feet with yellow powder, turmeric. This holy rare occasion is usually attended by the many local and overseas devotees.

April

Water Festival and Myanmar New Year
Date : Usually 13th April to 17th April (New Year’s Day)
Location : Throughout the country
Duration : 5days of throwing water and the last, New Year’s Day,
Thingyan (The Water Festival) is the most interesting and greatest occasion for merry–making with the largest number of people taking part in it throughout the country. During the Thingyan Festival, people pour water over one another to the melodious tunes of singing and dancing at the decorated pavilions. Pouring water signifies cleansing the body and mind of evils of the past year. During these auspicioThere are two pagodas which enshrine footprints of the Buddha. The site is on the bank of Mann Creek, where bamboo cabins are erected every year for local travelers to enjoy cool swims during the heat of summer.span style=quot;mso-spacerun:yesbr /us days, Myanmar people perform a lot of meritorious deeds to usher in the New Year such as keeping Sabbath, going to pagodas and monasteries, offering food and alms to monks, paying respect to parents, teachers and elders, setting free fish and cattle and so on .Thingyan is a distinctive festival which is always awaited with great joy and excitement by Myanmar people every year.

Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival
Date : 8th Waxing to 5th Wanning of Tagu
Location : Bago
Duration : 13days
The most famous Pagoda Festival in Bago. Classical theatre troupes perform their best here so they will be booked by agents for the next pagoda festival season.
 

May

Salon Festival
Dates : Late April (After Thingyan (Water Festival)
Location : Myeik Archipelago
Duration : 1 day
The only inhabitants in Myeik or Mergui Archipelago of Myanmar are Sea Gypsies, namely Salon (Moken). They live on boats during dry season and remain on land during rainy season. They still practice the same fishing and boat building techniques used for generation. Even they are living in the sea for most of the time, they have their traditions, customs, cultures and their localized traditional festival. During the festival, all villagers gather at the villages, offer foods and pray for their better on business, good luck, for good health and more prosperous for coming season. They are also enjoy their meals, drink and dance traditionally during their festival.

Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree
Date : Full Moon Day of Kason
Location : Pagodas throughout the country
Duration : 1 da
This ritual commemorates the date 2500 years ago when the Buddha gained enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree. Pilgrims pour water on the Bodhi trees in pagoda compounds to keep them fresh in the summer heat of May.

June

Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival
Fullmoon of Waso(June)
Date : 8th Waxing of Nayon
Location : Pakokku, Central Myanmar
Duration : 15 day
Pakokku is an old traditional town on the western bank of the Ayeyawady River. This pagoda festival is the most important for all towns west of the Ayeyawady and products from the region, such as dried chili, homespun baskets and tobacco are sold every year at this huge country fair. The best thanakha trees, the bark of which is pounded to make the purely organic make-up cream used by many Myanmar women, grow in this area.

July

Waso Full Moon Festival
Date : Full Moon Day of Waso
Location : Throughout the country
Duration : Mid Jul
The Myanmar month of Waso is the beginning of the monsoon rains. It is also the start of the Buddhist Lent. Monks are prohibited to travel overnight from their monasteries. According to the monks' code of conduct, they are still obligated to make the rounds for their daily food whether it is raining or not. As it is, they need spare robes. Therefore there is a ceremony to offer robes to the monks for use during the wet season. 

Warso Chin-Lone (Cane Ball) Festival
Date : After the Full Moon Day of Waso
Location : Maha Muni Pagoda Compound, Mandalay
Duration : 48 Day
Waso Chinlone Festival of Mahamuni Buddha Image in the year 2009 stretched for 48 days. It was the 81st game held annually since 1926; the largest sport event of its kind, participated by 1220 Chinlone teams. The players had travelled across from all corners of the country to pay homage to the most revered Shrine, and to convene in tribute, the game of Chinlone. It is believed that this game has taken root in Myanmar for more than 1500 years. During the Festival of Mahamuni Buddha Image, as the grandeur of game call for, chinlone contest is performed with live music of Myanmar saing-waing (traditional orchestra) and running commentary.

August

Taung Pyone Spirit Festival
Date: 8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Wagaung Location : Taung Pyone Village, near Mandalay Duration : 8 days Taung Pyone is the site where two brothers serving a king of Bagan in the 11th century were executed. They became powerful spirits or Nats. This festival in their honor is attended by tens of thousands of mediums and worshippers. During the festival, toddy palm wine, whisky, rum, grilled rabbit and fried chicken are offered to the two spirit brothers. Orchestras come to play for the mediums who dance to make the spirits 'Joyful'.

Yadana Gu Spirit Festival
Date : 1st to 8th Waning of Wagaung
Location : Amarapura, Mandalay Region
Duration : 8 days
This festival honours the mother of the two powerful spirit brothers in Bagan era. She is the Goddess of Popa and her main shrine is on Popa Crest, near Bagan. She is a powerful spirit and protector of women.

September

Manuha Pagoda Festival
Date : One Day before the Full Moon Day of Tawthalin 
Location : Myinkaba village, Bagan, Mandalay Region
Duration : 2 days
On the first day of festival, pretty village girls dressed in their best parade with trays of fruits and cakes to offer at the pagoda. During the afternoon, yong men parade with larger-than-life paper-made figures of heroes, celestials and animals. At night, they put on dances and plays. The next morning at dawn they offer food at shrine and also to the monks.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
Date : 1st Waxing to 3rd Waning Day of Thadingyut
Location : Inle Lake, Southern Shan State
Duration : 18 days
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is one of the famous principal pagodas which houses five Boddha images. This pagoda is the main attraction of Inlay Lake and is situated in the middle of the lake. Thousands of people from communities aroung the lake and villages in the surrounding mountains carry fruits and flowers on lacquer trays in their own boats and pay homage as the holy barge passes. Teams of the lake's famous one-legged-rowers compete in annual boat races.

October

Festival of light
Date : One day before the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut, Full Moon Day and one day after
Location : Throughout the country
Duration : 3 days
This festival commemorates the time when the Buddha returned to earth after preaching in the abode of celestials during the three months of Lent. He descended at night and devotees greeted Him with lamps and lanterns. People decorate their houses with candles and coloured lanterns to symbolize this event. The festival of Light marks the end of Lent.

Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda Festival
Date : Begins one day before the full Moon day of Thadingyut
Location : Mandalay
Duration : 4 days
An exciting festival focused on a huge Buddha image carved from a single block of marble. It coincides with an annual competition among teams of cane-ball (chin-lone) players.

Dancing Elephants FestivalDate : One day before the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut and the Full Moon Day
Location : Kyaukse, about 40km southeast of Mandalay.
Duration : 2 days
On the first day, colourfully decorated elephant figure made of cloth and bamboo with two men inside compete in dance competitions. The elephant with the best dance performance and behaviors wins the gold. Food and flowers are offered to the pagoda on the second day.

Kaunghmudaw Pagoda Festiva
Date : Around Full Moon Day of Thadingyut 
Location : Sagaing, Sagaing Region
Duration : 5 days One of the famous pagodas in central Myanmar. Most interesting aspect of this festival is the caravan of bullock-carts in the pagoda compound. Some of the carts carry their village products, such as hand-woven cotton clothes and cane mats, etc, to sell them at the festival. They like to camp under the shady trees.

Shwe Kyin Light Festiva
Date : After the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut 
Location : Shwe Kyin Creek, Shwe Kyin Township, Bago Region
Duration : 1 day
Shwe Kyin light festival is held every year on the day after the full moon day of Thadingyut. The festival includes daytime rowing races as well as competitive synchronized paddling exhibitions by separate teams of women and men. However, the highlight of the festival occurs only after darkness falls and locals launch hundreds of lit candles onto the water.

November

Tazaungmon Full Moon Festivalz
Date : Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone 
Location : Throughout the country
Duration : 1 day After the rains, the monks would need new robes and on the full moon day, the offering of new robes for the monks are held. It is called the Khahtein ceremony. Sets of new robes and other offerings such as slippers, umbrellas, alms bowls, food, towels, soap and other necessities are presented to monks. Cash offerings for monasteries are also collected and displayed on wooden frames built in the shape of a tree. 

Hot Air Balloon Festival
Date : Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone
Location : Taunngyi, southern Shan State
Duration : 3 days
The most spectacular event of the year is the Hot Air Balloon Festival held every November in Taunggyi commonly called the Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival. Thousands of local pilgrims and international tourists choose to visit Taunggyi, especially to watch scores of giant paper animals being inflated and floated off into the sky. The competitions run during the day and at night when the sky is colourfully illuminated with hot air balloons. Hot air balloons in the shape of elephant, ox, horse, water buffalo, bird, pig, fish, owl, and parrot are sent up into the sky.

All Night Robe Weaving Contests
Date : Begins in evening before the Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone
Location : Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, and other pagodas throughout the country
Duration : The whole night
In the evening of the Full Moon Day, teams of weavers compete to finish a monk’s rube during the night, to be offered to Buddha images at dawn the next day. It is a major event at the Shwedagon Pagoda. This ritual was once practiced both in the palace during the time of monarchy and villages.

Shwezigon Pagoda Festival
Date : Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone Mandalay Region
Location : Nyaung u, near Bagan,
Duration : 15 day
On the Full Moon Day, there is a ritual of offering a filled alms bowl to a thousand and more monks and novices. Lacquer ware, glazed pots and hand woven cotton blankets are sold by villagers living in the region at this great country fair. 

Phowintaung Pagoda Festival
Date: One day before Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone Location : Monywa, Sagaing Region Duration : 2 days Like other pagoda festivals with the usual entertainment provided. Myanmar thanaka, sandalwood and woven textiles (cotton blankets and longyis mainly) can be bought at the various stalls around the pagoda area. 

Shwesandaw (Pyay) Pagoda FestivalDate : Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone
Location : Pyay, Bago Region
Duration : 1 day
Shwesandaw Pagoda is one of Myanmar’s biggest Buddhist pilgrimage sites and the festival of this pagoda is one of the most visited festivals for pilgrims all over the country. During the festival, the sacred tooth hall which contains a Buddha tooth relic is opened for devotees.

December

Mae Lamu Pagoda Festival

Dates : 8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Nadaw
Location : North Okkalapa Township, Yangon Region
Duration : 8 days
One of the famous pagoda festivals in Yangon Region. The activities of Pagoda festival are reciting the holy scriptures 24 hours continuously throughout the festival by monks, offering provisions and articles to monks, celebrating festivities and performing with evening entertainments such as Zat (Drama), Stage Show and Movies.

Popa Guardian Spirits Festival
Dates : 8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Nadaw
Location : North Okkalapa Township, Yangon Region
Duration : 8 days
One of the famous pagoda festivals in Yangon Region. The activities of Pagoda festival are reciting the holy scriptures 24 hours continuously throughout the festivals by monks, offering provisions and articles to monks, celebrating festivities and performing with evening entertainments such as Zat (Drama), Stage Show and Movies. 

Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda Festival Nine Thousand Lamps
Date : One evening of December 31
Location : Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Garden Rock’ Pagoda, Mon State
Duration : 1 evening
On the platform of the Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda, devotees light nine thousand lamps to welcome the New Year and to give thanks to Buddha’s peaceful Doctrine. The magical Golden Rock Pagoda, a golden spire, sits on the top of a huge boulder covered with gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff. 

Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda Festival Nine Thousand Lamps
Date      : Thadingyut
Location : Magway, Magway Region
Duration : -

One of the famous pagoda festivals in the central part of Myanmar. This pagoda has the legend connected with the Buddha. The emerald cot of Buddha was believed to be enshrined in the pagoda. The name derived from the emerald cot; Mya Thalon in Myanmar Language.

 



National public holidays of Thailand in 2013

Day

Date

Holiday

Comments

Tuesday

 January 01

New Years Day

 

Monday

 February 25

Makha Bucha Day

 Date varies depending on the lunar cycle

Monday

 April 08

Substitute day holiday for Chakri Day

 April 6th, or following Monday if it falls on a weekend

Saturday

 April 13

Songkran Festival

 Thai New Year

Sunday

 April 14

Songkran Festival

 Thai New Year

Monday

 April 15

Songkran Festival

 Thai New Year

Tuesday

 April 16

Songkran Festival

 Thai New Year

Wednesday

 May 01

Labour Day

 May 1st, or following Monday if it falls on a weekend

Monday

 May 06

 Substitute day holiday for Coronation Day

 May 5th, or following Monday if it falls on a weekend

Friday

 May 24

Visakha Bucha Day

 Date varies depending on the lunar cycle

Tuesday

 July 30

Asahna Bucha Day

 Date varies depending on the lunar cycle

Monday

 August 12

 H.M. Queens Birthday

 Aug 12th, or following Monday if it falls on a weekend

Monday

 August 12

Mothers Day

 Wan Mae. Aug 12th

Wednesday

 October 23

 Chulalongkorn Day

 Oct 23rd, or following Monday if it falls on a weekend

Thursday

 December 05

H.M. Kings Birthday

 Dec 5th, or following Monday if it falls on a weekend

Tuesday

 December 10

 Constitution Day

 Dec 10th, or following Monday if it falls on a weekend

Tuesday

 December 31

New Years Eve

 

 


Vietnam Holidays

Public HolidaysImportant Dates Affecting Touring, And Compulsory Meals

01 Jan - International New Year's Day:
Banks and public offices will be closed, as will some businesses. Road traffic will likely be heavy in the evening in Ho Chi Minh City.

Last Day of Jan - Lunar New Year:
Banks and public offices will be closed, as will most businesses. Re-unification Palace will be closed on New Year’s Eve. Cao Dai Temples (including the temple in Tay Ninh) will be closed 6 days before the Lunar New Year. Floating Markets in the Mekong Delta will not operate. Factories will not operate.

30 Apr - Independence Day:
Public holiday. Banks and public offices will be closed, as will some businesses. Road traffic is likely to be heavy in the evening in Ho Chi Minh City.

01 May - Labor Day:
Banks and public offices will be closed, as will some businesses. Road traffic is likely to be heavy in the evening in Ho Chi Minh City.

02 Sep - National Day:
Banks and public offices will be closed, as will some businesses. Road traffic is likely to be heavy in the evening in Ho Chi Minh City.

24 Dec - Christmas Eve:
Not a public holiday.
Compulsory dinner charge levied by all Hotels & Reosrts 4 & 5 star at USD 40.00/pax.

31 Dec - International New Year's Eve:
Not a public holiday. Road traffic will likely be heavy in the evening in Ho Chi Minh City.
Compulsory dinner charge levied by all Hotels & Reosorts 4 & 5 star at USD 50.00/pax.

Vietnam Shopping
Vietnam has some fantastic shopping opportunities so it is well worth setting aside half a day or more to properly peruse. Hotspots include Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, each of which has a tempting selection of everything from avant-garde art to sumptuous silk suits. Some of the best buys on the block include gorgeous glazed pottery, classic lanterns, 'almost' antiques, embroidered tablecloths, fine furnishings, and lavish silk and linen creations in designer boutiques.

Bargaining
Some bargaining is essential in most tourist transactions. Remember that in Asia 'saving face' is important, so bargaining should be good-natured. Smile and don't get angry or argue. In some cases you will be able to get a 50% discount or more, at other times this may only be 10%. And once the money is accepted. the deal is done. Don't waste time getting stressed if you find out someone else got it for less, it is about paying the price that is right for you, not always the 'right' price.

Do the follow :
* Bargaining to get to get a 50% discount with street shops

* Bargaining to get to get a 20% discount with paiting shops

* Bargaining to get to get a 40% discount with clothes shops

* Bargaining to get to get a 36% discount with other items

Art & Antiques
There are several good shops to hunt for art and antiques, but Vietnam has strict regulations on the export of real antiques, so be sure the items are allowed out of the country. Most reputable shops can provide the necessary paperwork. Both traditional and modern paintings are a popular item. Cheaper mass-produced stuff is touted in souvenir shops and by street vendors. More sophisticated works are displayed in art galleries, with paintings from US$50 to US$5000, but some of the hottest Vietnamese artiste now fetch up to 10 times that. It's important to know that there are forgeries around - just because you spot a painting by a 'famous Vietnamese artist' does not mean that it's an original. A Vietnamese speciality is the 'instant antique', such as a teapot or ceramic dinner plate, with a price tag of around US$10. Of course, it's OK to buy fake antiques as long as you aren't paying genuine prices.

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