Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Anou Cleaning, Vientiane

Happy New Year from Laos

Today marks the beginning of the New Year celebrations in countries where Theravada Buddhism prevails. Called Thingyan in Myanmar, Chaul Chhnam Thmey in Cambodia, and Songkran in Thailand, in Laos it is known as Songkan. Actually the new year itself only starts on the 15th. The 13th is the last day of the year, and the 14th is a day that is neither in the old nor the new year. The celebrations last normally for three days but in the wonderful ancient capital of Luang Prabang they last for more than a week and include, among other events, a procession during which the masks that protect the city are paraded across the streets, colourful boat races on the Mekong, and a beauty pageant. Across the country visits are made to temples, where images of Buddha are beautifully decorated with freshly picked and washed flowers, and much water is poured on relatives, friends,... and thrown at anyone passing in the streets to wish them a happy and long life.

To celebrate the event, here is one of the few painted signs I saw while travelling across northern Laos. The name and telephone number are written in Lao and western characters, while the name also appears in Chinese, certainly a reflection of the ever growing links between the two People's Republics.

Anou Cleaning
Tel: 219072-020512545

Location: Rue Phanompenh, Vientiane, Laos / Picture taken on: 09/12/2008

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