Boat Racing Festival - Luang Prabang

Boat Racing Festival

Drums thunder, oars flash, and dragons dance on water! Laos' Boat Racing Festival erupts with color, tradition, and roaring competition.
Witness ancient spirits stir, communities unite, and human spirit soar as teams battle for glory in vibrant longboat clashes.
Dive in - the festival awaits!

Every year, Lao Buddhists embrace a vibrant tradition passed down through generations: the captivating Boat Racing Festival. Rooted in the twelve Annual Festivals, this celebration transcends mere entertainment, serving three vital purposes:

Preserving culture: It honors the rich heritage and traditions of the local people, ensuring they continue to thrive.
Boosting tourism: The festival attracts visitors, promoting the region and generating economic growth.
Building community: It fosters unity and love among villagers, strengthening their bonds.

While the festival has evolved into a time for entertainment, water sports, and commerce, its core essence remains unchanged. It's a tribute to Laos' precious rivers, especially the mighty Mekong, which symbolizes prosperity, health, and abundance. The event offers a breathtaking spectacle of colorful boats competing on the river's surface, reminding us of the beauty and significance of this treasured tradition.

Festival Date:
Boat Racing Festival, a tradition that stretches back through the mists of time, erupts every year during Buddhist Lent (July to October), in the festival consists of seniors, farmers and young people across the country get together in their free time and focus their attention on longboats and rivers.

During the three-month Buddhist Lent, each province selects a different date for the Boun Xuang Heua day depending on local customs. In Luangprabang, this festival to align with the Hor Khaopadapdin on September.

The story of Boat Racing Festival:
Once upon a time, in a land brimming with vibrant villages and verdant rice fields, lived a young orphan named Tao Kum-pra. He wandered from village to village, relying on the generosity of others for his daily bread. As he grew older, he found work as a servant, before leaving the village to live in a forest.

One day, Tao Kum-pra was trying to protect his rice field from animals, but he couldn't seem to catch them. He went to ask for help from the royal gardener, who gave him a piece of silk thread. Tao Kum-pra used the thread to catch a giant elephant, which begged for its life and promised to be his servant. The elephant told Tao Kum-pra that he would come to his aid whenever he needed it.

Tao Kum-pra continued to catch other animals, including a tiger, a civet cat, an eagle, a naga, and a Phi noy. The tiger, civet cat, eagle, and naga also agreed to be his servants.

One day, Tao Kum-pra found a giant tusk in his rice field. Inside the tusk was a beautiful woman named Nang Nga. Tao Kum-pra fell in love with Nang Nga and wanted to marry her.

The news of Nang Nga's beauty spread to the king, who was also smitten with her. The king challenged Tao Kum-pra to a series of competitions. If Tao Kum-pra lost, the king would take Nang Nga away. If the king lost, he would give Tao Kum-pra half of a city.

The competitions included a cockfight, a bullfight, and a boat race. Tao Kum-pra won all three competitions with the help of his animal servants.

Boat racing is the last competition Naga converted to be a boat for Tao Kum-Pra, and the King’s boat capsized. Then Naga ate all the people on the king boat.

When the King died, The king was furious and plotted to get revenge. He conspired with a Colugo which can called Nang Nga's spirit. The first time call made her sick. The second time, she was unconscious. In the third time, she died and her spirit had come in with their King.

Tao Kum-pra and his servants were heartbroken when they realized that Nang Nga was gone. They consulted with the Phi Noy, who told them that they needed to capture the Colugo.

The Phi noy befriended the Colugo and convinced them to enter a small room. The room was a trap that Tao Kum-pra had set. The Colugo was caught and brought back from heaven to Tao kum-pra in the human world. They ask the Colugo to call Nang Nga spirit back if not they will kill it. The Colugo is afraid and calls Nang Nga back to him immediately. Nang Nga was released from the spell. She was reunited with Tao Kum-pra and they lived happily ever after.

To be sure Nang Nga will not called back to the king by the Colugo so Tao Kum-pra asks the Colugo its magic calling the soul with praise. The Colugo forgot to worry about the danger that would come it put out the tongue and explained about the magic. Immediately, Tao Kum pra cut its tongue. Since that time the Colugo can not call anyone spirit anymore. The orphan man and Nang Nga were governed in that city with happiness.