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Celebrating the Grand Stupa of That Luang

Boun That Luang is one of the most significant festivals to the Lao community, along with Boun Phra Vet and the traditional Lao New Year. Typically held in October or November, it’s a 3 to 7 day festival, depending on seasonal changes, convened at That Luang, the Grand Stupa built in the 16th century by King Settathirath as a symbol of his moving the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. Historically the procession begins at Wat Si Muang and ends at Pha That Luang.

Here are some photos from the celebrations in the capital city of Vientiane, Laos this past week (Photos by Jason Rolan).

That Luang, Vientiane

Locals give offerings to monks standing by their bowls (Photo: Jason Rolan)

That Luang, Vientiane

Monks have no choice but to sit in front of a visually difficult booth (Photo: Jason Rolan)

That Luang, Vientiane

A monk and his helpful dog (Photo: Jason Rolan)

The festival is an opportunity for participants to build merit for rebirth into better lives and to wish good fortune to one another. Participants circle the Pha That Luang three times in memory of the Buddha, his teachings, and the community. The festival of course includes traditional and popular live music, drama performances, poetry recitals, dances, and games.

The Lao community in Minnesota will hold festivities the weekend of November 15-16 at various temples. The Lao community in Santa Rosa, California will be celebrating the That Luang Festival on Saturday, November 8.

Learn more about the significance of That Luang, go here.

-Bryan Thao Worra

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