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Boun Ho Khao Padabdine

half term of the Buddhist lent

The 14th day of the waning moon of the ninth month of Buddhist calendar, all Laotians annually celebrate the feast of Ho Khao Padabdine, the "Day of the Dead". That day, the Buddhist make a donation to the death, in the form of food delivered to them symbolically through the monks …

Ho Khao Padapdine means’’ to packets of rice and place them on the floor’’.

According to the precepts of Buddha, the Buddhist Lent is the good time to refrain from bad deeds. Buddhist should apply the Dharma: the respect of the five commandments of the Buddha, meditation and alms. It is also time to complete the agricultural work, as transplanting of paddy.

To celebrate the Boun Khao Padabdine Ho, the Buddhist are preparing offerings composed of Tomh Khao, Khao Nom Neb (cakes made with rice), fruits and other kind of foods that will be offered to monks . These religious activities are intended to honor the dead and the spirits.

The eve of the festival, families put their donations in a plastic container or trays. Part of the food offerings for the ancestors are placed in containers made of paper or banana leaves.

So in this moonless night, deep in the dark (between three and four in the morning), faithful deposit salty food, fruit and cakes, betel quids and cigarettes at the foot of stupas containing the ashes of the dead, or under the trees… During the night time, the dead are allowed to come collect these donations.

The feast day, at dawn, the sound of drums from pagodas diffuses through the streets of towns and villages. It announces the gathering of the faithful for the ceremony of offerings to the pagoda in their neighborhood. The villagers bringing gifts. At the entrance, you can see some devotees make offerings to victims of violent death and the dead who have no family to come to honor them … All who died a violent death can not be met in the temple, and in this case, their parents and relatives must honor them by hanging offerings on poles or on the closing of the pagoda …

The Buddhist belief on reincarnation, but all do not suffer the same fate. If the deceased had a good behavior throughout his life, he will attain Nirvana; if he has committed many sins, he is condemned to stay in hell where he will be reincarnated in the body of a animal to atone for his sins.

The dead who go to hell will suffer many sufferings and be deprived of food and clothing.

After death, Nirvana and Hell are places where the faithful are called to be reborn. Lao Buddhists also believe that the dead can come back from hell, and that fifteen days per year. Thus, the 14th day of the waning moon of the ninth month on the 15th day of the waxing moon of the 10th calendar month Lao (this year from 20 August to 4 September), Chia Nhomphibane, the king of hell, tortured authorizes to return to the human world to receive the offerings of their offspring during the Christmas Ho Ho Khao and Khao Salak Padabdine.

If the dead returning to earth don’t find any offering, they cry and throw curses on people who didn’t give respect and attention.

From an article of KPL, Lao News Agency, translated by Google