12 April 2021 at 12:00AM
Happy South and Southeast Asian New Year!
Based on the entry of the sun into the constellation Aries, the traditional new year for many South and Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and some parts of India and China, falls around mid-April.
Every country celebrates differently but activities typically include prayers and cleansing rituals at local temples and lively festivals.
As a Laotian-American, Lao New Year, or Pii Mai as we call it, is a joyous and symbolic time for the community to set new intentions, spend time with loved ones, and party. The local community usually has a celebration with lots of traditional food such as papaya salad and beef salad, traditional dancing, music, and a beauty pageant. Back in Laos, there are festivals and even water fights in the street! Water symbolizes purification and is also used in Buddhist blessing ceremonies so a new year equals cleansing the past and spreading blessings for the new.
To learn more, visit: https://asiasociety.org/celebrating-new-year-asia