Saturday, April 30, 2011

Baci Ceremony

The volunteers have recently started teaching at the Luang Prabang Vocational Training School, and the school held a traditional Baci ceremony to mark the end of the Laos New Year celebrations. As a welcome to the volunteers we were invited to attend as guests of the school.

The Lao people believe in thirty-two spirits known as khwan that protect the body and a Baci ceremony is used to bind the spirits to the body. The ceremony is usually performed on important occasions so it was a great honour to be invited to this one.

There was prayer chanting and then small white strings were distributed among the participants. These strings were to be tied around the wrists of the people around you while you made wishes of good fortune to the person.

The volunteers proved to be popular recipients of the strings and the peoples good wishes and we all soon found our wrists covered with threads, which are supposed to be kept on for 3 days.

After the prayer and string tying we moved to one of the many tables that had been set up and were able to enjoy the copious food and drink that had been supplied in typical Laos generosity. Some volunteers even managed to show off some hitherto unknown skills at traditional Laos dancing.