At first I was quite annoyed when the local temple piped up with full blast chanting at 3am. So I tried to find out why, and discovered this.
Boun Khoun Khao, or Boun Khoun Lan, is one of the year’s most important festivals. Sometimes known as the rice festival, it is celebrated around the city of Vientiane as a harvest festival to show appreciation for the spirit and abundance of the land and the rice harvest. Vientiane is the largest city and capital this country, situated on the Mekong River. Timing of the festival revolves around the Buddhist lunar calendar but it usually falls in the month of March.
Visitors to this celebration will be able to watch the customs and traditions of the small villages and Buddhist temples around the city. Traditional Baci, or su kwan, ceremonies are held to give thanks for the land, which gives the people strength. Su means togetherness or unity, and kwan means soul or spirit. During the ceremony people sit around an extravagant bouquet of flowers called a Pha Khouan. A senior village member leads the ceremony after which celebrants tie white cotton strings around their wrists and make good wishes. Food and drink are prepared that include delicacies like deep-fried Mekong fish, papaya salad and lao-lao or rice alcohol. There is music and dancing. Visitors are welcome to take part in the Baci ceremonies and the feast afterwards.
Wouldn't it be marvellous if the Buddhists could persuade the Christians and the Muslims to join them in next year's ceremonies.
Something like the next Full Moon– Mar 16 2014 - a day of unity where everyone thinks about Mother Earth, and what she gives us.
I wish I could record the chanting - it's quite boring, and incessant (4.5 hours so far) but eventually it gets inside your head, and forces you to stop what you are doing and get with it.
I reckon this kind of promotion is more in line with the new era. I reckon trying to sort out the intimate details of the past era are not as productive as introducing the new era to folks in the here and now. Most of them still have no idea what has happened.