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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wan Awk Pansa in Vientiane (the end of Buddhist Lent)

Dear readers.
Every year on the night of 15th day of 11th month in the Lao lunar calendar (in 2007 it fell on October 26)is the end of Buddhist Lent which lasts for 3 months .

After ending of Buddhist Lent in my hometown - Vientiane there will be the boat racing festival, which will be organized on October 27.

The boat racing festival is the big even for people living in Vientiane and the whole country.

Usually it begins in the morning and finish in the evening. A lot of people will gather on the bank of the Mekong river to see the racing.

At night there will be illuminated boat processions - boats which are decorated with many small lamps and will be let go along river.

Also, every year on the night of 15th day of 11th month in the Lao lunar calendar at the end of Buddhist Lent (in 2007 it fell on October 26), an extraordinary phenomenon occurs in the area of the Mekong River stretching over 20 kilometres between Pak-Ngeum district, about 80 kilometres south of the Lao capital Vientiane, and Phonephisai district in Nong Khai province, Thailand. Fireballs spew up from the river. Everyone had doubts about this extraordinary occurrence, but later accepted what they knew as facts about the fireball: that it was not staged by humans, but happened naturally. So from then on, villagers on both sides of the river called this phenomenon the Nāga's Fireball. They believe that Nāga under Mekong River shoot the fireball into the air to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent, because Nāga also meditate during this time

The fireballs have been seen for centuries and are most often reported around the night of Wan Awk Pansa - the end of the Buddhist rains retreat - in October only.

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