VIENTIANE (Xinhua) – Tens of thousands are crowding the Mekong riverfront here in the Lao capital as the country’s annual boat racing festival kicks into gear.
Each year, the capital swells as people from across the country, as well as tourists from all over the world come to experience the richness of Lao tradition and the excitement of the competition.
The Mekong waterfront has transformed into a festival of Lao culture with hundreds of shops and vendors showcasing their wares. This year’s festival trade fair showcases a variety of domestically made products as well as cultural products from nine districts in the capital.
The festival will also feature traditional performances from a wide range of Lao regions, districts and villages.
On Oct 8, the country will celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent which annually coincides with the boat racing festival. Tourists who wake up early in the morning will be able to see Buddhists offering alms to revered monks. In the evening, the city will be illuminated in candlelight as devotees congregate at temples.
Almost 1,500 police officers will be deployed throughout the festival to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and the safety of both domestic and foreign festival attendees, reports said.
The objective of the boat racing festival is to preserve, promote and protect the fine tradition of the Lao capital,” Deputy Head of the Vientiane Traffic Police Department Major Bounmark Soundalay was quoted by official Lao news agency KPL as saying on Monday.
“It has been passed on from generations to another since time immemorial.”