Lao Tradition

The Southeastern part of the United States Celebrating of Lao New Year 2008

Songkran is the time of the year for a new beginning, and for some of us, it is the time to wash away the rust that has been clinging to our heart, learning to let go of the past and to start fresh with the new beginning. I want to wish everyone a year of good health, happiness, and prosperity.

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I’m glad that it is such a beautiful day today; the weather is perfect as I’m sure there are others that also enjoyed the festival at Wat (Buddhist Temple) as much as I did. For a small state, we have several Lao Buddhist temples, sometimes I wonder why they didn’t come together and built one great one, but the one that we visited today is not just for Lao people, but also for the Khmer and Thais as well, as Songkran, or New Year is observed and celebrated by the Lao, Khmer, and Thais, so we have had a good turn out.

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I’m just so fascinated with the Jaydee Cide or sand stupas, and it’s something that is very touching for me to witness, as for us, when we built the Jaydee Cide, we made a wish and donated the good merits for our mom that recently passed away, and for some they might wish for a year of good health and prosperity, and I’m sure some would wish to win lottery, it was loads of fun to be amongst such good spirited people.

We also pour the water on Buddha images (lodh nom songk), and each Buddhist statue represents the day of the week that you were born, which means Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…and Saturday, and some might choose to only pour on the statue that represents their day of birth, but most people pour on all the Buddhist statues. I’m not sure if there is a proper way of water pouring, but as for me I was taught to pour on the Buddhist statue’s hand or feet, but I noticed that some would pour on top of the Buddhist Statue’s head, one of my sisters did this and it didn’t seem right watching, but I noticed that others had done the same thing, and my dad said that it’s not polite to do that, as the Buddhist Statue’s head is considered high up, and shouldn’t be pouring anything over, but most people don’t think in this term, or maybe they just don’t know.

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My dad prepared our own Nom Songk (water for pouring,) he mixed water, perfume, turmeric powder, and flowers.

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There were live band and people dancing ram-wong (circle dancing), and many enjoying themselves playing with shaving cream.

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The atmosphere is very much like Wat back in Laos, but the one thing that I missed the most is the architecture of Wat Lao that this temple is lacking. I hope you all will enjoy the rest of the photos.

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