Celebrating a New Year in Sand and Water

Eli Whitney Museum

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Vacation Program

  • Monday, April 15, 2013
  • 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Designed for ages 7 to 12

April 15th is the first day of the New Year in Laos, an Asian country a little larger than New England. The celebration marks the approach of the moonsoon season, the onset of summer rains. The New Year festivities offer a vivid encounter with the cutoms and stories of a civilization with a long, long history.

Man Lao are Buddhists whose beliefs and traditions traveled from India in the southwest. For the New Year's procession, create a frog king or rain god or one of the daughters of King Kabinlaphonm or a monkey dancer to act out the story of Laos' beginnings. Create a celemonial elephant that squirts water. (Squirting water is very important part of the celebration.) Build and decorate a stupa, a ceremonial mojntain in the sandbox. finally, you will do a good deed (making merit is an important custom.) Part of the fees for the day will go to cleanbirth.org, a New Haven organization working to train nurses and expectant mothers in Laos.

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