Boat racing festival and loy Krathong Ceremony

Maha Sila VIRAVONG wrote in the book of Hidsipong, the twelve customs. This ceremony was performed for thoundsands of years and it was the original ceremony of Brahmanism to worship the god and floating the Loy Krathong. Some countries organize the ceremony from the full moon of the 14-15 in the twelve month to the 1st dark moon of the first month, the same time as in Thailand, Lanna Xiangmai. In Laos, we do not know the exact time because there is of no evidence, but we know the exact time that the illuminate ceremony was officially organized in the king of Soulignavongsa in 1641 as noted by Van Wustop, trade diplomatic from Holland, who met the king of Soulignavongsa in 1641. (His detailed notes is too long, but there is the part of his note on the illuminated boats as written below).

After meeting the King in That Luang festival, the Holland trade diplomatic envoys had an opportunity to see the ceremony on the illuminated fire boats. Van Wustop said: "The king sits on a seat made of gold. the king saw the illuminated fire boats. We were sitting close to the King camp. The ceremony was organized on the Mekong river. There was one bamboo pole. It was high as the pole at the head of the ship on the sea. Four men climbed up and jumped down to the river to show people. The four men could be injured or hurt.

When it was dark, more than two hundred fire boats were running down along the Mekong. Among these, there were three illuminated fire boats which had fire like the four square stupas. These made the river bright. After the ceremony was over, the king and his followers and I returned back."

The illuminate ceremony in Vientiane as written in the note of Van Wustop was organized in the twelfth month, after That Luang festival was over. In that time, That Luang festival organized in the 1st dark moon of the twelfth month.

Now the illuminated boats and Loy Kathong ceremony is organized in the full moon of the eleventh mounth. The fire boats are made of forest bamboos and banana trucks. Banana truck sheets are placed on the boats to put kikouang, burning powders for fire lighting. Heua fai Kok, the land fire boat is also made in the yard of the pagoda. The purpose is to make the illuminated boats or Loy kathong or Loykamot, as Brahmanism are made to worship the god and to drive away the sin or the bad luck. In Laos, these are made to worship Lord Buddha, the god of the rivers, the god of the dragons to send the rain to us.

Racing Boats Competition: After the end of the Buddhist lent, at the 1st dark moon of the 11th month, Lao people in the villages, districts and provinces organize racing boats festival along the main rivers such the Mekong, its tributaries and streams, particular in Vientiane municipality, Pakxe, Champasak boats racing was also organized in the 1st dark moon of the eleventh month, except in Luang Prabang where people organized in the nine month and at the same time of Boun Hokhaopadabdine(worship the food for the deads), because Luang Prabang uses Namkane river so in the middle of this month Namkane river level is high enough for the racing boats competition.

Raing boats and the end of the Buddhist lent are organized concurrently, but the day for boats racing, old and young gather to see whose boat will be the champion and on this occation there are chanting team in boats, on the roads and pagoda yards and having fun.

Usually, the boat racing purpose was the social sport to gather friends and to worship the Lord of Buddha, the rivers and the god of the dragon. It was not rowed for a prize but small gifts were given as incentives.

Lao culture

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the additional information about the festival -- have posted dates for this year and also guide services for the person we used and loved in Luang Prabang when we were there - Khamta Keovongsy