15 Apr 2024 AEP Administrator

Yesterday, on April 14, 2024, the Advanced Education Program (AEP) collaborated with students from Laos and Myanmar to organize a New Year celebration for Laos and Myanmar. The program was successfully and smoothly carried out with the presence of lecturers from AEP and TUAF; 50 students from Laos and Myanmar; Filipino high school students experiencing the Work Immersion program; and other students from various countries such as the Philippines, Germany, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Mozambique, etc., from the AEP and departments within the university.

Bunpimay (New Year festival) or Thingyan Festival (Water Festival) is one of the most important festivals of the year, cherished and celebrated by the people, taking place every April according to traditional customs and unique cultural traits of Laos and Myanmar. The festival symbolizes bringing coolness and prosperity to all things and purifying human life.

The program successfully recreated traditional ceremonies. It began with outstanding performances deeply rooted in the cultures of students from Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Filipino high school students.

Following that was the "thread-tying" ceremony (also known as Sou khoẳn), a spiritual tradition closely tied to the lives of Laos people for generations and essential during the New Year. It signifies peace and luck for those whose wrists are tied. The ceremony started with a harmonization prayer and tying of threads, a unique Lao cultural element, with a large calyx at the center of the stage and threads tied to its branches. Everyone sat around the calyx to pray for luck and tie colored threads to send wishes of happiness and health to those being tied.

The next ceremony was the "water pouring on hands" ritual. In this ceremony, students lined up to pour water on the hands of the respected teachers and elders and asked for blessing.

Then came the most exciting part of the celebration - the Water Splashing Festival. One of the indispensable activities during the traditional New Year of Laos and Myanmar is water splashing, considered the most characteristic ritual of this occasion with the meaning of cleansing away bad luck, illnesses, and sins of the past year, welcoming a fresh upcoming year. To show respect, the younger generation pours water on the older ones to wish them longevity and prosperity. According to Laos and Myanmar beliefs, the more one gets splashed with water, the wetter their clothes are, the luckier they will be in the year, and it's also a sign that they are loved by many.

Furthermore, the food court of the festival also contributed to conveying Lao and Myanmar cultures through dishes recreated by the students, such as sticky rice, coconut jelly, beer, etc.

Happy New Year to Laos and Myanmar! Wishing everyone health, success in work and study, lots of luck, and always being happy in the coming year.