Boun Kathin occurs anytime from the day after Boun Okk Phansaa , i.e., the first day of the waning moon of the eleventh month, to Boun That Luang, i.e., the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the twelfth month.

Boun Kathin is the highest form of making merit for lay people.   It serves to maintain the well being of the monks and the temple by providing the necessities of every day temple life.

You can recognize a kathin procession by the Buddhist flags of red, orange, yellow, white and blue stripes decorating the pickup truck or otherwise displayed.   There is usually a tree made of bamboo to which strings of kip are attached.   It is a joyful time.   People play drums, gongs, and other musical instruments as the procession moves along the road.   There is singing and dancing to the beat of the music.   You may be stopped on your motorbike and be asked to make a small contribution.   You may join the procession if you like.

For one or two weeks before Boun That Luang (the 15 th day of the waxing moon of the 12 th month), talat nut is held in the open areas around That Luang.   At this fair, provinces, ministries, foreign embassies, and many businesses take the opportunity to display information about themselves and sell their products.   If you wish to vien thien around That Luang be sure to wear a sin or skirt.   It is also possible to rent one there for five thousand kip.     

Thursday, 25 Nov.   Vien thien of phasad pheng at Wat Si Muang.   The circumambulating begins as early as 4:30, but the best time to go is after dark when the light from the candles is so beautiful.   A phasad pheng is a castle of bees' wax in which reside good spirits, feelings and thoughts.

Friday, 26 Nov. Procession of phasad pheng and parade of different groups in costume.   The parade begins about 1:30 at patuxai (the monument) and goes to That Luang.   It is a great photo opportunity.    A good place to wait is at Wat Nong Bone, the temple at the top of the hill beyond the traffic lights on the right.   It takes about thirty minutes for the parade to reach the intersection.

Saturday, 27 Nov.   Tak baat at That Luang.   People arrive before 5:30 a.m. when it is still dark to get a place on the ground.   Women dress in their finery and men wear a pha bieng , too.   Again, this is a wonderful photo opportunity.   A thousand monks border the area with their bowls on a table before them, and the crowd, seated on mats or newspaper in a multitude of colors, fill every inch of ground.

The official closing ceremonies for the fair are in the afternoon and the traditional Lao game of tiki is played between the townspeople and the government officials.   Watch the full moon come up behind That Luang.   At night around 7:30 are fireworks.

Sunday, 28 Nov.   During the day, the phasad pheng go in a procession to Wat Inpheng and Wat Ongtu.   In the evening, a celebration is held with more phasad pheng and vien thien at the temples.


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VIS & Bruce Knox 2005 - This site was most recently updated on June 8 , 2006 by Bruce Knox