Lao people live in a very unique and most beautiful culture in the world that is heavily influenced by Buddhism, and its status as the world's best preserved culture and tradition is more than deserved.
A "Soo Kuan" or sometimes called "Baci" ceremony is one of the most important part of Lao culture. It's a ceremony which may be held to mark any important occasion such as a wedding, birthday, illness, accidents, moving to a new house, the start or conclusion of a major journey (e.g. if someone is going overseas).
Soo Kuan represents a mixture of Buddhism and spirit worship, and the person officiating is usually an old man called the "mor phone". The mor phone intones prayers and benedictions appropriate to the particular occasion. Then after the person being honoured has had some symbolic food placed in his hand, white cotton strings are tied round his or her wrists, to the accompaniment of further benedictions.
After this, all the participants, who have been sitting round the "tree", are allowed to tie more strings around his or her wrists, while expressing their own specific good wishes; and are also permitted to tie strings around each other's wrists, so that the whole affair develops into a free-for-all from which everyone emerges with at least some strings. These strings must never be cut, and should not be removed for three days, some people leave them on for longer.
Lao people are friendly, caring, genuine, polite, generous and very giving. It's no surprise why many people want to experience and be part of Lao culture.
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