NATIONAL

Laos marks 2,561st anniversary of Lunar New Year

By Joel Lee
  • Published : Apr 16, 2018 - 20:46
  • Updated : Apr 16, 2018 - 20:47
The Lao Embassy celebrated the 2,561st anniversary of the country’s Lunar New Year at a reception in Seoul on Friday.

“According to our lunar calendar this year, the Lao New Year, or Water Festival, will be celebrated for three days from April 14 through 16,” said Lao Ambassador to Korea Khamsouay Keodalavong in a speech. 

“During these festive holidays, Lao people around the world joyfully celebrate the occasion, which consists of watering Buddha images, monks, elders, friends and passersby. Families gather together and observe the Baci ceremony in their homes.”

Baci is a ritual for marking important events and occasions such as births and marriages, as well as entering monkhood, departure, return and the beginning of a new year. The ritual, which has become a custom, involves tying strings around a person’s wrist to preserve good luck.

Lao Ambassador to Korea Khamsouay Keodalavong (in green shirt) prays in front of a pah kwan as part of the traditional Lao ceremony Baci during a reception in Seoul on Friday (Lao Embassy)

The envoy thanked the Korean people and government for their support, as well as the some 500 Laotian people working, studying and living here, wishing all of them health and prosperity.

“Since the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Republic of Korea established their diplomatic relations on Oct. 25, 1995, our relationship and cooperation have expanded and developed continuously,” he said. “This is evident in the regular exchange of high-level visits and cooperation in trade and investment, tourism and people-to-people ties.”

Pointing out that 2018 is “Visit Laos Year,” promoted by the Lao government, Keodalavong encouraged Korean and international tourists to travel to the country, where 18 tourism-related festivals, including the Lao water festival, Thatluang festival and Xayabouly elephant festival, are being promoted.

This year, the Lao government and people expect to welcome 5.3 million foreign tourists, including over 200,000 Koreans, he added.

There are currently five airlines operating direct flights between Vientiane and Incheon and Vientiane and Busan.

The South Korean government, under the administration of President Moon Jae-in, has announced its New Southern Policy aimed at strengthening economic, social and security ties with Southeast Asian and South Asian nations, particularly “people-centered relations.”

By Joel Lee (joel@heraldcorp.com)