Good Luck Laos New Year!
Pii Mai Laos is officially three days long but the parties tend to go on much longer stretching a week or more on either side of the actual holiday. The official Don Det Pii Mai Lao celebration starts at the temple, a holy day of prayer. The second day begins with small parties at home going to the temple in the late afternoon to clean and care for the family Buddha statuette. Many have ‘family Buddhas that stay at the Wat.
The men carefully bring the statuettes from the temple prayer room each year, placing them on a bamboo table covered with a mat. They are then washed and cared for with mango and scented herbs brought from each household. Even the broken pieces of old Buddha statuettes are brought out and washed. After the Buddha statuettes are washed at the temple front, they are taken to family groups who really scrub them down, whereafter, they are returned to the table for one last blessing.
As mango water is wildly doused over the statues by the monks, any water splashes are considered a blessing for the new year. As the water drips through the bamboo table, children are below collecting as much blessed water to anoint others as they can. They even save some in bottles or buckets to take back and bless family members and friends that could not make it to the ceremony. Many participants are also throwing water at each other.
Big oversized water guns are the weapon of choice for some. These are refilled at water stations, not with the Buddha’s water. Everyone is encouraged to participate, even tourists, as this ceremony is to bring great blessings for the new year. The year 2566 has officially started! We wish everyone the best of luck and happiness for the new year.