The people of Laos were able to celebrate the Festival of the New Solar Year without a background of civil war for the first time in twenty years.
GV Children throw water at car and little boy fills bows (2 shots)
GV Woman throws water over man
GV Children throw water at motorcyclist (3 shots)
GV Laotion girls capture man and little boy throws water over him
CU PAN GV Man in large carnival mask clears way for procession
GV Procession (2 shots)
SV Children in procession
MV Water poured over monks in litter
SV Pathet Lao watching
CU & GV Girl in procession
SV Two Pathet Lao.
GV People following processing
Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong arrive for evening celebration with guests (2 shots)
GV Princes seated as guests arrive
SV Male dancer in costume, audience watch (2 shots)
GV ZOOM IN Girl dancers
Initials AE/21.30 AE/22.9
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Background: The people of Laos were able to celebrate the Festival of the New Solar Year without a background of civil war for the first time in twenty years.
Laotian coalition government swore allegiance to the King and the State only two weeks before. The coalition followed months of tough negotiations between Prince Souvanna Phouma's government and the pro-communist Pathet Lao.
Prince Souphanouvong, the Pathet Lo leader has recently returned from North Vietnam. he is to be President of a newly formed council which will prepare the country for general elections.
The two Princes sat together with the King and Queen at the evening's royal celebrations. The children throwing water at passing motorcyclists and drivers had no worries about affairs of state.
Many romances are said to spring from water drenching battles between girls and boys on the banks of the Mekong Rover. Sand castles are also built on the banks of the river to appease the Gods. They are inscribed with signs of the zodiac and topped with colourful paper streamers. Laotion Princes attend this ceremony during which their shirts are torn off by girls as a sign of purity.
There are also carnival processions where people throw water over the feet of a monk in a pagoda.
The festival is believed to stem from ancient fertility rites when water was thrown to ensure a plentiful supply of rain.