February 19, 2013

Vat Phou Festival to Return to Its Ancient Roots

Visitors are set to flock to the famous Vat Phou festival in Champassak province for six days of celebrations from February 20-25, to enjoy the unique southern Lao culture and history which dates back to the 5th century and before.

Visitors to last year's Vat Phou festival. (Vientiane Times File Photo)

With the festival getting bigger every year, organisers are keen to ensure there are even more different attractions for devotees and festival goers to enjoy.

Champassak provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Deputy Director Mr Phoungeun Bouasi said recently that Vat Phou festival this year will have more interesting activities t han previous years for both tourists and locals alike.

There will be a couple of historical drama performances featuring song and dance, including one called the Lakhoneyonyuk, which recounts the incredible feat of building the giant temple structure itself.

Meanwhile, the second play will feature an ancient tragedy, the tale of Thao (Mr)Bachieng and Nang (Miss) Malong, two star-struck lovers who never marry in the end, in spite of their dreams.

Mr Phoungeun said in addition to the traditional dramas, there will be live performances by famous Lao and Thai singers on February 20, the opening day, featuring both traditional songs and modern hits.

Meanwhile on February 21, the second day, a beauty pageant will be held to discover the most beautiful girl in the province, who will be crowned Miss Champassak, which will be broadcast live on television in Laos.

The official opening ceremony of the festival will take place at 2pm on February 22 at 2pm, featuring a parade with people from the various government organisations, unions, cultural groups and sporting associations taking part.

For the duration of the festival, visitors will have the opportunity to shop for clothing and apparel, traditional garments, handicrafts and pottery, ba mboo furniture and woven baskets. Of course, there will also be a vast array of local cuisine for residents and visitors alike to enjoy, including all the most famous dishes that are the taste and flavour of Champassak.

For new visitors and those who have been before but don't want to miss the new drama performance, the Lakhoneyonyuk will take place from February 22-25 at Hongxao hall each evening at 7.00pm.

On the last day of the festival there will be an almsgiving ceremony in the morning, while the night time activities will include a performance by the traditional folk song troupe “Noimaneexokeosi,” followed by everyone's highlight – the lighting of the 4,000 lanterns.

Article Source:  Vientiane Times Newspaper

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