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Lao New Year

Songkan, the Lao New Year, is a favorite holiday. It happens in mid-April at the beginning of the agricultural year when the first rains start to fall after the long dry season. Water is sprinkled on Buddha images and on elders as a blessing. However, after that it turns into one big water fight with buckets of water thrown on everyone in sight. The children have a good time throwing water on their friends. Since it is very hot in April, it feels good to get wet so people don't get angry. Their clothes will dry out very quickly. Everyone enjoys Songkan. People who have moved away from home usually try to return to their villages and be with their families for the Lao New Year.

The Rocket Festival

The rocket festival (Bun Bong Fai) occurs when the moon is full in May. Villagers make rockets of long lengths of bamboo packed with gunpowder. Different villages compete to see whose rocket can soar the highest. Villages may also compete in folk dance contests among the young women and boat races on the rivers among the young men. Everyone gets together to eat good food and enjoy the activities.