HONGSA (THE ANNUAL ELEPHANT FESTIVAL)
Laos is home to the largest population of pachyderms in the country and is famous for the annual elephant festival. The annual elephant festival is often held in mid-February in the province of Sayaboury. Elephants have become an important means of transportation for transporting and transporting heavy objects between fields and the forest.
Visitors will have a good chance to visit the Lao Elephant Conservation Center and get in touch with the elephants, take care of them and learn about them through educational tours and volunteer work.
Hongsa is well known for Wat Simoungkhoun, which is one of the most remarkable monuments with its amazing collection of Buddha images. In addition, there are many old city walls of an ancient mysterious settlement covered in 14th century history.
Another attraction located on the banks of the Nam Houng River such as Wat Sibounheuang with its ancient foundations in the 16th, a beautiful backdrop of green fields and the Pha Xang and Wat Siphandon mountain range with its unique diamond-shaped stupa and Wat Sisavangvong too. In addition, located on the banks of the Mekong, a small town called Paklay features French colonial buildings and traditional Lao-style wooden houses.
The elephant festival is often held in mid-February in the province of Sayaboury. Launched in 2007, the annual festival attracts more than 80,000 elephant fans during ceremonies, parades and performances to honor the national symbol of the “land of millions of elephants”. In addition, the purpose of this event is to raise awareness about the protection needs of the endangered Asian elephant, which has played a vital role in the livelihoods, culture and heritage of the Lao people.
After an opening ceremony, elephants enter the host village through a bamboo arch and bathe as well as are blessed by monks with participants who deserve a baci ceremony. Then the entertainment begins with many interesting activities such as pachyderm shows, musical concerts, outdoor movies, dance performances and fireworks in a carnival atmosphere, including walks on the back of Elephant and a “Fun Fair”.
After the second day procession and religious ceremony, the mahouts gather their massive mammals for a day of elephant entertainment and visitor education crowned by the crowning elephant of the year.
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