I've been spending the week of Lao New Year in Xieng Khouang. My closest friends are here, and I've been going to several baci, or string tying ceremonies, every day. The only problem is that I don't have access to fast internet so I haven't had a chance to upload pictures and post journal entries. And I haven't had the time, what with all the activities going on.
Lao New Year means traveling around and visiting friends. Usually, there's a small ceremony with an elder, who usually had been a monk for several years, chanting Buddhist prayers and then blessing everyone to have good luck and health in the coming year. The blessings are made by pouring a small amount of water on the person's back, to wash away the bad luck of the previous year and bring good luck for the coming year.
We went for a picnic at a friend's farm outside Phonsavanh. They put up the buildings in the foreground, but other people had cut down the trees to raise upland, dry cultivated rice.
The weather contributed to water blessings. Usually, Lao New Year is the hottest time of the year but this year, there was a lot of rain. Didn't make us feel like having water fights.
This is my contribution to Skywatch Friday, whose members post pictures of the skies around the world.