Word for the Travel Wise (10/18/06)

Laos FlagAs many Americans prepare for their great Halloween festivities and gather materials for haunted houses and what have you the folks in Laos prepare for something different. Like Halloween which occurs once a year, the That Luang Festival happens about the same time when the moon is full and the night is dark. However, it will be a large number of monks and people who travel to That Luang (Great Golden Stupa) to kick things off. How will they party it up? Well, the people will make offerings to the monks and when dusk comes thousands of people will revolve around the large golden stupa counterclockwise three times. It is said that this festival is the festival that unites Buddha and the people once a year.

Today’s word is a Lao word used in Laos:

bpii – year(s)

The Lao language is closely related to the Isan language used in the northeast region of Thailand and the alphabet resembles the Thai writing system, but has some differences. Wikitravel has an excellent online Lao phrasebook and probably one of the best free web sources you’ll find. Lao Connection also has some of the basics listed in addition to links to language products, fonts, CD’s, and software. Laos Language and Culture Learning Resources out of Northern Illinois University is an extensive guide on folklore, history, arts, literature and of course the lingo!

Past Lao word: nyang, men, pathet