Sok Dii Pimai (Happy New Year)!
You know that feeling you get at the end of every year in December and you tell yourself next year is going to be different.. next year is going to be better..next year is my year. Then comes January 1st and the new you has emerged, only to be back to the same old you a week later? That's when we all usually say "Well, I'll start next year" and call it quits on the new and improved you. I am very guilty of this BUT luckily for me, I also celebrate Lao New Year in April.. so you can say I'm winning when it comes to New Year & New Beginnings.
Lao New Year is traditionally a 3 day festival from April 14-16, but lets be real 'cause if you know anybody who is Lao, they like to party and Lao New Year is their favourite time to do so! This is why there is nothing unusual when your Lao friend is celebrating New Year for the ENTIRE month of April.. in case you were wondering.
To celebrate this year, my sister, niece and I went to our local Wat/ temple to give alms and gain merit. To put it simply, we give food to the monks and in return receive spiritual redemption. We didn't actually go to any festivals or parties (so out of character, I know) but we are planning to go to Texas next year, as we've heard they have the biggest Lao New Year celebration in North America! If this is true and anyone can share their experience, please comment below.
Another place I would love to experience celebrating Lao New Year is in Laos. I've heard there are huge water fights between strangers during this time and who doesn't love a good water fight? For those of you who don't know, water symbolizes renewal so everything (temples, Buddha images, houses etc.) is cleaned with water, along with the younger generations pouring water onto elders hands to ask for blessings and/or forgiveness. Around this time of the year is also the hottest so no one is complaining about all the wetness!
Anyway, to all my friends and family whether you celebrate Lao New Year or not, I wish you all good health and happiness.. and remember, every day is an opportunity for a new beginning.