Wat Phou Festival - Boun Wat Phou
The Wat Phou Festival takes place every year on the 15th day of the waning moon of the third month (depending on the lunar calendar this is usually during the end of January or the beginning of February). It is the largest festival in the province and one of the largest in the entire country. People gather at the base of the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wat Phou, to pray, take part in various ceremonies and to enjoy the three-day festivities. These include sound and light shows, processions, recitals, chanting, boat racing, games, and volleyball and petanque competitions. Sometimes, there are even elephant processions, buffalo and cock fighting, as well as traditional dancing and concerts.
Elephant Festival in Ban Kiet Ngong
The elephant festival takes place the day before the annual ceremony held at the Phou Asa mountain temple in the village of Kiet Ngong. The activities include traditional elephant parades, dances, and a blessing ceremony honouring the elephants.
Lao New Year - Pii Mai Lao
This is the biggest celebration of the year throughout the country and is a fun event to take part in.
Lao New Year is celebrated for three days in mid-April. The festival is based on the importance of water in people’s daily lives, and you will certainly get wet during this time. During Pii Mai, people splash water on one another to cleanse them of misfortune and bring luck for the coming year.
In the Vat, Buddha images are cleansed with sacred water and many Lao people make special offerings at the temples during this time of the year. During Pii Mai Lao most businesses and government offices are closed.
Rocket festival - Boun Bang Fai
During this festival giant rockets, constructed from bamboo poles and stuffed with gunpowder, are launched into the sky to encourage the spirits to bring rain for the upcoming rice-growing season. The event is very exciting and loud bangs can be heard as the rockets explode. Traditionally, each village parades the rockets to the temple and makes offerings before shooting them towards the sky. This rain-making and fertility festival is a wild and happy ceremony with music, dances, provocative performances and street processions.
Boat racing festival - Boun Souang Heua
This festival is celebrated throughout the country and is an important event in the Southern Laos calendar as it is meant to pay homage to the Mekong River for helping to sustain the lives of people who live along its banks. Teams from different villages and districts compete with each other, in long boats with up to twenty paddlers. Pakse is typically the biggest and the first location in the province where the boat racing takes place. Later, other districts organise their own competitions among different villages, meaning the festival continues for days throughout Champasak Province.