That Luang Festival
That Luang Festival is held over a 3-day period during the full moon of the twelfth lunar month (normally early November. On the eve of the festival, the event starts with a colourful candlelight procession which starts at Wat Simeuang, where groups gather and walk three times around the main hall of worship.
The processions continue the next afternoon when thousands of people gather to bring their glittering offerings to That Luang. There is usually a parade of men and women dressed in different Lao ethnic costumes who dance, play traditional music and sing songs as they approach the stupa. On reaching That Luang, the participants slowly walk around the inne cloister three times in a clockwise direction, led by monks from the temple of That Luang.
Early the next morning, locals from around the city descend on That Luang to give alms to hundreds of monks who come to Vientiane from around the country for this festival. Inside and out, That Luang is full of monks who assemble to receive the offerings.
The festival draws to a close under a full moon, when people from all over Laos will crowd around the stupa for the last candlelight procession, carrying small bouquets of flowers, candles and incense. This is supplemented by a fireworks display entertaining the crowds who enjoy the games, competitions and market stalls that accompany the festival.
That Luang Festival is a popular time to visit Vientiane - we recommend you book a central Vientiane hotel well in advance.