Reflecting a People’s Tradition and Change
Part III – Rituals and Festivities
Cultural practices are enhanced when people can bring up their children according to their values and beliefs, when they can take part in neighbourhood activities as well as in important national celebrations, when they can develop self-esteem and local identity. In Laos, most rituals and festivals are connected with religion and the yearly rice farming cycle. The timing of the festivals is calculated according to the Buddhist lunar calendar. To give an idea and to understand the deep meaning of figures and patterns on Lao crafted textiles, it is important to understand the religious and philosophical background of the people. In an oral society, where the written word is not under- stood, it makes sense to pass on knowledge from generation to generation through rituals. The younger generation learn their culture by doing, by reciting poems, songs, and prayers during the family’s weekly visit to the temple and festivities in the house. They are made aware by the elders of the joy of life but also of the dangers that can destroy family, clan, and community. Here I want to put forward the principal ceremonies of some ethnic groups that are usually not seen on tourist pages. The following rituals convey the kindness and the deep honest respect of Lao people towards nature and the social life within the family and the community. Spirit- and Ancestor-Worship Among the numerous rites in different ethnic groups, the most important one is to please the spirit of the rice-field, who can cause starvation,...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.