The Louisiana Lao New Year Festival at Wat Thammarattanaram Lao Buddhist Temple in Coteau wrapped up today.
The celebration started Friday.
For over 30 years the three-day festival, which usually occurs around the Easter holiday, has introduced Acadiana to the cultural traditions of the Lao people.
On Friday night, the Queen’s Pageant gave guests a look at beautiful costumes and performances along with traditional music. More than 75 vendors offered authentic Lao foods. On Saturday, a parade rolled at noon. Today, the Sand Stupa making ritual began at noon. That tradition is symbolic of establishing a good foundation of being compassionate and good for the new year, organizers explain.
For those new to the festival, guides were available, and an information booth offered information about Lao culture and the buildings at the festival.
“We had a really big turnout on Saturday, and I think everyone’s really tired, so today is a day for relaxing, and recuperating oneself, and starting off a new year,” said Phanat Xanamane, co-chair of the festival organizing committee.
Xanamane said the group is working to make the festival attractive for the entire state.
“My favorite part is just seeing so many people from Lao communities across the US who come here and participate in the beautiful rituals and ceremonies,” Xanamane said. “People from all over come here and are in awe of our community and what’s happened here, the beautiful temples here, and our customs that we’ve kept alive. It really makes me proud.”
Information on the festival can be found at the Louisiana Lao New Year Festival Facebook page.
To see our previous story, click here.