The annual Lao New Year celebrations kick off this month around the nation, but in Minnesota, we are celebrating it Saturday, April 14, at the Crystal Community Center. It offers a wide variety of cultural performances, thak baht (Lao blessing and alms giving), and Nang Sang Kahn (New Year Pageant). If you’re on the fence about attending, then you’ll want to read through the list I’ve compiled of reasons why you need to get out and have some fun. -Danny
1. Only $10 (16 and under are free) – Alas, I put first the thing that most don’t want to read about, but think of it as a donation. After all, you can start the new year off right with some good karma! Plus, the performers, music, and volunteers have worked so hard to put this together for you, it’ll be worth it.
2. Thak Baht – If you come in the morning, starting at 9am, you can participate in the Lao blessing and alms giving ceremony. If you’re like me and don’t get out much to give alms to get blessings, then this is the time! You gotta give to receive—blessings, that is.
3. It’s Legendary – I love the legend around the new year, the one about Kabinlaphom and his seven daughters. It’s about how the new year celebration started and explains the origins of why we do the Nang Sang Kahn pageant. I was part of the theatrical rendition of this legend one year, playing Kabinlaphom himself.
4. Nang Sang Kahn – Go support the seven young women who participate each year in the pageant. They have worked hard in trying to represent the Lao culture and community this new year. They usually make appearances at the temples and other events as good role models for other community members. According to legend, the daughter who is chosen as the Nang Sang Kahn has the responsibility of making sure this coming year is successful for everyone.
5. Finally, Agreeable Temperatures – Unlike previous years in Minnesnowta when snow has another month to melt itself away, we may experience a heat wave! Now, we may not get to the point where we can splash each other with buckets of water (like they do in the streets of Laos) to wash away any bad luck from the previous year, but pretty dang close. Get your water balloons ready.
6. Lao Music – I hear a band is going to be there (Lucky Star). I love Lao music en vivo. Call me old fashion, but I think the lumvong is a dying art (what, with all the L-Pop these days). I like to get down Salavan-style. Get low, get low!
7. Food – Yeah, I’m a foodie. If you don’t get Lao food every day, I’ve always found a good variety at the New Year celebration. I’m pretty sure papaya salad & beef jerky are on the menu.
8. Show off your Lao clothes –I don’t get to wear my Lao clothes ever. There’s never an occasion until now—the Lao New Year! Sport your best Lao outfit and I swear I’ll find you and snap a picture. LLOTP could use some models.
9. Alms – If you come to the Thak Baht, afterward participants can go and collect the treats that were given as alms (give and you shall receive). This is my favorite part of the ceremony because I get treats that come around once a year for me, like Kao Thom (steamed sweet rice filled with bananas and wrapped in banana leaves). Don’t forget your tote bags!
10. LLOTP will be there – Yeah, we’ll be there for sure. And we’d love to meet you guys.
Details for the Lao New Year of Minnesota 2012 below: (click here)
Saturday, April 14, 2012
9am-2pm (Thak Baht)
4pm-7pm (Cultural performances & Nang Sang Kahn Pageant)
7pm-12am (Evening Entertainment by Lucky Star Band)
Crystal Community Center
4800 Douglas Drive North
Crystal, MN 55429
Cost $10 (16 and under free)