In Laos, the kingdom of million elephants and white parasol, a week-long New Year celebration began on April 15, it also marks the 2504th year of the Buddhist era.
MS Street in Luang Prabang.
CU Heat TILT to Mahout.
12 1/2 ft
LS Elephant moving off.
LS Crowd in river bank.
20 1/2 ft
MS Sand pyramids.
CU Girl TILT DOWN to pyramid.
MS Sprinkling water (2 shots).
CU Joss sticks.
32 1/2 ft
MS People praying.
LS - do -.
MLS Praying before pyramids.
MS Girl with water bucket.
MS Girl pouring water over man.
47 1/2 ft
LS Water poured over man.
MS Girl tearing off boy's shirt.
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Background: In Laos, the kingdom of million elephants and white parasol, a week-long New Year celebration began on April 15, it also marks the 2504th year of the Buddhist era.
The royal capital Luang Prabang, where the King normally lives and which is the seat of official Buddhist religion, elephants parade through the streets.
Though the country is named after "million elephants", elephants are rather a rare sight nowadays even in Luang Prabang, and children enjoy the elephant procession as much as the elders and as in other countries not famous for elephants.
The country at present is in the grip of a civil war, and Luang Prabang is not yet free from fear of revel attacks. But Laotians are quite cheerful and no civil war will prevent the gaiety of New Year celebrations.
One of the aspects of the celebrations all over the country, apart from praying in innumerable Buddhist temples, is the congregation of youngsters on the bank of Mekong to build sand pyramids. The size of the pyramid is determined by the size of the family, bigger pyramids for those from big families and smaller ones from others. As the pyramids are shaped, water is used to make them firm. Then a whitewash for the sand monument called that, then joss sticks and prayers. Much horseplay is allowed while making the pyramids. Girls pour water over boys, shout, push around and even tear the shirt off a boy. It is all a part of the celebrations, uninhibited.