Savannakhet Villagers Celebrate Rocket Festival in Violation of Lockdown Measures

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Savannakhet Village Celebrates Rocket Festival

Villagers in Savannakhet have held their annual Rocket Festival celebrations in direct violation of Covid-19 lockdown measures.

A video released on Facebook yesterday shows large groups of villagers celebrating and dancing during a temple procession as part of the rocket festival, causing outrage among citizens who are remaining at home during the lockdown.

The festival took place yesterday in Phonsim Village, Kaysone Phomvihane District, in Savannakhet Province.

Chairman of the Phonsim Area Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organization, Ven. Sivilay Vanaram posted on his Facebook account that village authorities had arranged the festival without the governor’s permission.

“The festival was held by villagers with a deep-seated belief in animism and ancestor worship,” said Ven. Sivilay Vanaram.

“Despite my efforts to stop them, villagers in Phonsim claimed that the rocket festival is a traditional custom that, if not held, would cause people to die or live unhealthy lives,” the monk added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Provincial Governor of Savannakhet Province, Mr. Theankeo Phombida, stated during a press conference yesterday evening that the incident in Phonsim Village was a breach of the governor’s instructions.

“Those involved in organizing the festival will face legal action, as well as being demoted,”¬† Deputy Governor Theankeo said.