Ork Phan Sa festival
Our October visit to the lovely Luang Prabang happily coincided with the Ork Phan Sa festival which marks the end of Buddhist lent with boat races, a parade, a float contest and a glowing sky filled with burning lanterns. Saffron-clad monks line the walls separating the ancient temples from the main drag and parade route as tourists and locals follow the fifty foot candle-covered floats from one end of the town to the other. The parade ends at the Mekong river where the floats are launched and glide off downstream.
As we arrived in town, local neighborhoods were working on their floats and costumes for the big event. Our guest house proprietor engaged the guests in creating elaborate candle and floral displays while a visiting monk looked on taking endless calls on his cell phone.
Our Laotian proprietress at Guest House Manichan had designed the float for the neighborhood, and it had the winning design, making our part in the festivities all the more exciting.
It was a fun, beautiful, magical night and an authentic festival for the locals that we could view and participate in without detracting from their their tradition and celebration.