Bouad Lok Kheo (Boys becoming Novice)
Local festivals and celebrations occur in Muang Sing all year round, and if you are lucky, your trip may coincide with one of these small-town functions. The area’s ethnic diversity delivers distinct cultural rituals and events, and visitors are welcome to attend. For more information about the festivals, contact the provincial or district tourism information centers.
Muang Sing’s ethnic groups will hold special rituals and festivals associated with the planting and harvest season, with the latter from November to January being the time when food is plentiful and farmers will have a chance to rest briefly before making preparations for the upcoming year’s planting.
New Year celebrations held by the Akha, Yao, Hmong and Tai Neua. The Khmu hold the “spirit of the new rice” festival.
February-Boun Maka Bousa
This festival is held on the full moon to commemorate the speech given by the Lord Buddha to 1,250 enlightened monks that gathered spontaneously. In the evening, the faithful visit local temples and walk around the vat three times in a candle cermony.
April-Lao New Year-Pi Mai Lao
Celebrated over three days in mid-April, and with plenty of festive water splashing Luang Namtha’s biggest New Year’s celebrations take place in the district capitals. The festivals feature performances, local food stalls, and clothing and handicraft fairs.
May-Rocket festival–Boun Poi
Boun Poi, celebrated by the Tai Lue, is linked to fertility and bringing rain and starts with a traditional Sualakhang dance, in which men dress like women and tie themselves together in a circle. A parade precedes the rocket competition when large bamboo rockets are launched skyward. Contact the district tourism information center for time and location details.
July-Boun Khao Pansa
This full-moon festival marks the beginning of Buddhist lent, a three month period where monks are required to stay within their vat to meditate and focus on darma studies. Lao men are traditionally ordained as monks during this time.
October-Boun Ork Pansa
Celebrated on the full moon in October at the end of the rainy season, monks who were ordained for the three month lent period leave the vat and rejoin their families. During the evening of Van Ork Pansa, small banana-leaf boats called heua fai are launched on the Nam Ma River with offerings of incense, candles and small amounts of money in a charming ceremony meant to bring luck and prosperity.
November-Boun That Xieng Teung
Muang Sing’s most famous festival attracts large crowds of people from around the province as well as Tai-Lue Buddhists from as far away as Myanmar, China and Thailand.
Lao villagers perform this ritual to welcome visitors or send them off, and during weddings. This sacred ceremony, in which blessings are symbolically tied to one’s wrist with strings, is also a reconciliation gesture, and the faithful believe is can help cure many illnesses.