Festival Highlights in Indochina

Festivals in Indochina

1. Bunpimay Water Festival in Laos
The traditional water festival of Laos called Bunpimay festival usually takes place from April 13 to April 15 each year according to the Buddhist calendar.

Bunimay(Boun Pi Mai) Water Festival in Laos
Bunimay(Boun Pi Mai) Water Festival in Laos

The festival has a meaning of bringing coolness and prosperity to all and purity of human life. On New Year’s Day, people often splash each other with water to pray for the whole year.
Bunpimay Festival usually takes place in three days. The first day is also the last day of the old year, people clean up all things, prepare fragrant water and flowers. In the afternoon, people in the village gather in the temple to worship Buddha, pray and hear preach form the monks.
People go to the temple to pray for health and happiness for the whole year. After that, the Buddha is taken to a private room for three days and people open the door so that everyone could enter and do the Buddha bath. Aroma water after watering the Buddha statue will be brought back home as blessing water.

2. Bom Chaul Chnam Water Festival (Successful Rice Harvest Festival) in Cambodia
The biggest festival in Cambodia is the Bom Chaul Chnam (successful harvest festival) held on April 13th to 15th. This festival is also held in Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar – countries with agricultural civilization.

Taking part in the water festival should be the most wonderful
Splashing water onto each other is one of the most fun and fascinating activities during the festival

In this festival, people meet and splash each other with water in the hope of a more productive crop next year. It takes place for 3 days and the first day is for religious rituals in temples. The next day will be more interesting and fun. People will go out and prepare water to splash others. The Cambodian believes that this action bring happiness and belief of successful rice harvest. The more water people take the more and successful they are.

3. Ok Om Bok Festival in Vietnam
This is the biggest festival of the year of the Khmer in the South of Vietnam. Ok Om Bok festival is the way of the Khmer to thank the moon. For the Khmer, the moon is regarded as a god of crop regulation and blessing. So on this day, every house participates in worshiping the moon.

"Ghe Ngo" racing in Ok Om Bok Festival
“Ghe Ngo” racing in Ok Om Bok Festival

The festival usually takes place on 15th of October in lunar calendar in Tra Vinh and Soc Trang provinces where the Khmer live densely. The most interesting part of the festival is “Ghe Ngo” racing. “Ghe Ngo” means Ngo piragua made of wood only. This is a traditional ritual to send Water gods to the sea after a cultivation season. It is also a religious ritual in memory of ancient Nagar goddess turned into logs to bring the Buddha across the river. This activity attract both tourists and locals to enjoy.