The following is a list of festivals in Laos compiled from various sources which sometimes conflict with each other. Will try to get more information and will try to update it from time to time
Bun Pha Wet is the temple festival people will exchange invitations to friends, neighbors and family to join their celebrations. This festival is a commemoration of the Jataka, the life story of Lord Buddha as Prince Vestsantara so temples considered auspicious time for ordination day. This is will be a favored time for Lao males to be ordained into the monks. Falling on different dates
Makha Puha is an interest festival celebrated by buddhists in Laos / Thailand on the night of the full moon. This day is a public holiday in Thailand and Laos & go to the temple to perform merit-making activities. Celebrated most fervently in Vientiane and at the Khmer ruins of Wat Phu, near Champasak province. The festival is marked by grand parades of candle-bearing worshippers circling their local temples, merit-making, and much religious music and chanting.
Vietnamese Tet Festival & Chinese New Year Celebrated in Vientiane, Pakse and Savannakhet is the biggest event of the year. This time for friends, families and loved ones to come together, it is also a time to pay respects to deceased ancestors. Many people celebrate with a hung of meal and fireworks displays which take place in most major towns and cities. Most shops close their businesses at least one day over the holiday period.
Sikhotabong Festival is religious festival and held at Sikhottabong stupa from 5 - 8 February every year, located about 6 km south of Thakhek. it was built in the 8-10th centuries by King Nanthasene. The ruins of stupa was restored as its original design in the 1950's.
Wat Phu Festival is a interest festival of Laos, organized annually in Champasak from 5 - 8 February. Wat Phu is in Champasak. Festivities are buffaloes fighting, elephants racing, cocks fighting and performances of Lao traditional music and dance. The trade showcasing the cheap price of products from the southern province of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Elephamt festival - 16-19 February In Xayaboury District
Boun Khoun Khao or Khoun Lan (Rice Ceremony) This is a harvest festival held at Songkhon district in Savannakhet Province. Basi ceremony is performed to give thanks for the land .
Boun Pimai (Pimai Lao) is the most important annual festivals, especially in Luang Prabang. It is lasting several days and starting from 13-16 April. That day water will be throwing among the people in a spirit of fun and goodwill is the main activity of this festival. In addition you will join in dancing, singing traditional song & beauty contest with the crowning of Miss Pimai.
Boun Bangfai (Rocket Festival) is held at the beginning of the rainy season. Bangfai is a rocket made from Large bamboo are built and decorated by monks. Different communities compete for the best decorated and the highest traveling rocket and who will design failed rockets are thrown in the mud, songs and dances. This dramatic festival lasts 2 days and also celebrated in north east Thailand.
June & July
Khao Phansao beginning of the traditional 3 month during which Buddhist monks are expected to station themselves in a single monastery. July 3 (tentative) in Vientiane and nationwide. Other time they are travel from the countryside, but during the rainy season they avoid to travel so as not to damage fields of rice or other crops. This months is a special time for ordination and for men to enter the monkhood for short periods before they marry.
Haw Khao Padap Din starting in the middle of the rainy season (Tentaively on 16 August in Luang Prabang). Khao Padabdin festival is held in commemoration of dead ancestors. Over 2 days Buddhist devotees flock to the wats carrying silver trays of offerings for monks and deceased ancestors. Music is traditionally performed in the grounds of the wat while people make their donations.
Boat Racing Festival held in Luang Prabang from 17 - 18 Aug (Note - another site indicates that is being held on 31 August). This festival includes boat racing on the Nam Khane River and a trade fair in Luang Prabang. At the Khao Salak ceremony day, people visit local temples to make offering to the dead as well to share merits making.
Boun Ok Phansa is the end of buddhist lent and the faithful take offerings to the temple and it mean is end of the rainy season (tentatively on 30 September in Xayaboury). Boat races take place on the Mekong river with crews of more men and women. Before the race small decorated rafts are set afloat on the river.
Boat Racing Festival is held in Sebangfai river on 2 Sept in every year. At the same occasion a trade fair of farming products, local handicrafts, traditional Lao music and dance performance at the same time, citizens donate the offering to the dead in to share merits.
Awk Phansao (Awk Watsa) similar to the Thai celebrates that call Loy Krathong, this celebrates on the day of the full moon. Monks are at last permitted to leave the temple and are presented with robes. One particularly beautiful & people gather at the nearest body of water to release dozens of small banana-leaf boats decorated with candles, incense and small flowers.
Bun Nam (Water Festival) The water festival held during kao Pansa in riverside towns such as Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Savannakhet, the highly competitive Bun Nam boat races (suang heua) are held during the same time as Awk Phansaa.
Boat Racing Festival held in 2 - 3 Oct in Vientiane Another site indicates it is being held on 1 October). The water festival held during Awk Pansa is spectacular on the first day donations and offerings to temples around the city. In the evening candlelight processions are held around the temples and hundred of colorful flosta decorated with flower. A popular and exciting boat racing competition is held on the Mekong. Smaller communities sometimes hold these races on National Day on 2nd December
That Luang Festival - tentatively on 29 October in Vientiane (other sites indicate it will be held in November. This religious festival is held in and around That Luang stupa, the national sysmbol of Laos.It is a three-day religious festival celebrated at full moon in November. It begins with pre-dawn gathering of ten thousands of pilgrims from Laos and Thailand at That Luang who listen to prayers and sermons chanted by hundreds of monks representing all Lao wats. There is a colorful procession between Wat Si Muang & Pha That Luang. The celebration lasts a week and includes fireworks and music, culminating in a candlelit curcumabulation.
That Inhang Festival - Date |28 November (tentative). The ritual ceremony is annually performed in the That Ing Hang ("Ing Hang Stupa") in Savannakhet, one of the most sacred stupa in Southern Laos.
Hmong New Year in Oudomxay, Xieng Khouang, Luang Prabang and Vientiane Province is held between middle December - January. The Hmong New Year celebration features colorful displays of traditional costumes made from green, red and white silk and ornate silver jewelry. Music from traditional Hmong instruments such as the Hmong-style khene pipe and teun-flute.
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 6 Pathet Lao Day
Jan 20 Army Day
Feb 1 Chinese New Year (other sites indicate this will be on 23 January)
Mar 8 International Women's Day
Mar 22 Day of the People's Party
Apr 13-15 Lao New Year (Pi Mai)
May 1 Labour Day
May 16 Birth of Buddha
Jun 1 Children's Day
Jul 13 Khao Pansa (Buddhist Fast begins)
Aug 13 13 Lao Issara (Day of the Free Laos)
Oct 5 Bouk ok Pansa (Buddhist Fast ends)
Oct 12 Day of Liberation
Dec 2 National Day