Saturday April 14th my Baby and I went to celebrate the Lao New Year at the Rockwall Lao Buddhist Temple. How lucky to have two New Year Eves to celebrate in one year… and this for 26 years. It is always good to go out and celebrate life with people we love and meet new ones. And Lao people, there is one thing they love it’s partying.
Lao people, as soon as Friday evening arrives, they get ready for the party. Go buy drinks, cook, laugh, and dancing! They do know how to savor life and let the daily problems where they are when it’s party time. So we went to meet Theo, my brother in law, Sibone and Amone, 2 of my sisters in law and hit the road: direction Rockwall. If you have never been there, the lake offers a breath taking view. It is always so impressive how big those man made lakes can be! And this one is so big, it gives the impression to be in front of the sea.
The Wat – temple in Lao – is about 8 miles out of Rockwall, and we arrived late afternoon, before it gets to busy for us to find a parking spot. Everything was set up: little food stands, little ‘street restaurant’ and the smell of meat grilling on charcoal fires was everywhere. After buying a few things to snack on, we went right away to get some ‘khaopiack (rice noodle soup), green mango and other fresh little treat. Laughing and smiling seem like a walk of life among Lao people! While the music band was getting ready we went to the Temple – Wat… but you know that now!
Inside the Buddhist Temple
First of all, the Temple is the people’s house! They eat there, talk, kids are playing while Monks are blessing, chanting, other persons are making their offerings… In Laos it is the same: you can go to the Temple at any time and will find people praying, playing cards, laughing (of course) and Monks chanting in Pali. Before praying and making wishes, people stick some dollar bills to a ‘money tree’ and pray.
Theravada Buddhism is the tradition in Laos and Temples are the center of social life. You meet friends, get your vaccines, watch T.V… all that while Monks are chanting! Lots of guys choose to become Monk for awhile, or a life time.
If there is one thing Lao people know how to do, it’s… party! Everybody dance, and have great fun, laugh and all ages are mixed. Lam Lao is one of the traditional dance not too hard but very rhythmic, and women have a gracious way to move their hands. Isn’t that magical to be in the middle of Texas and be able to live another culture? Go to a Lao New Year’s Eve Party, have a different type of food, hear a different language…? What a fantastic World!
If one day you can, just go visit the Wat in Rockwall. You will be somewhere else during your visit and will have a great experience. Even better: Go to the next Lao New Year’s Eve and come dance the Lam Lao and have some delicious food, fresh coconut milk and much more!
Wat Lao Rockwall