Laos Officially Authorizes Lao New Year Celebrations

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Laos officially authorizes Lao New Year (Pi Mai) celebrations
Lao New Year (Pi Mai) festivities include spraying water on passers by (Photo: Phoonsab Thevongsa)

Authorities in Laos have given the green light to Lao New Year celebrations (Boun Pi Mai Lao) this year, although strict Covid-19 prevention and control measures will apply.

According to a notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, people in Laos can enjoy celebrating Pi Mai Lao this year but must comply with measures for prevention and control of Covid-19.

Under the notice, the official holiday dates for Lao New Year across the country will be 14, 15, and 16 April.

Laos authorizes Lao New Year

Authorities say people may participate in the celebration with their families, at their workplaces, and at temples in accordance with Lao traditions.

However, outdoor entertainment venues, market fairs, or music and dance performances at river banks, temples, or other public places have been prohibited.

The use of unclean water, dyed water, or use of vehicles to splash water has also been prohibited.

The notice also states that the Miss New Year procession will not go ahead unless otherwise specified by authorities.

It is unclear whether the Luang Prabang Lao New Year events schedule, issued by the mayor of Luang Prabang yesterday, would fall under this category or not as it includes authorization for a Miss New Year procession in the city.

Meanwhile, the notice issued today states that authorities must monitor border crossings and keep an eye on the price of goods, which may see price hikes during the Lao New Year period.

Strict Covid-19 prevention guidelines issued by the national taskforce must remain in place during the festival, such as social distancing measures and provision of face masks and hand gel.

Lao New Year celebrations were canceled in 2020 due to the country going into lockdown as part of Covid-19 prevention measures ordered by the prime minister.