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Lao New Year Festival celebrates Laotian culture in Louisiana

Posted at 3:19 AM, Apr 10, 2023

BROUSSARD, La. — A Buddhist monastery is settled right behind a quiet neighborhood and every year hosts one of the largest three-day festivals in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Lao community came to be over 40 years ago, when immigrants from Lao chose to call Broussard their home.

The first generation of Laotians would then build Wat Thammarattanaram Temple in Lanxang Village.

Phanat Xanamane, an organizer of the festival says this celebration for Laos people, is to leave the past and embrace a new future.

"New year for the Lao people is a time for rebirth and renewal, it involves a lot of water and washing, " Xanamane. "That's all to signify revival in our lives and renew the spirit for the next year."

Traditional dances held at the festival, tell a story about growth though its dance movements.

"The dance represents a new journey a new tradition for us because we plant a flower seed and then it grows up be a young seedling," said Kiraly Chongdy, dancer. "So it means a new journey for us, a new opening for us."

Xanamane is happy that Lao traditions have come so far and just wants to continue them for generations to come.

"I'm hoping to just add to that and teach the next generation and Lao kids here in Louisiana about their culture and help them celebrate it," said Xanamane.