Savannakhet to Host the Brou’s Kabongyay Festival


Source: Siladda Souliyong

Savannakhet will hold the Boun Kabongyay festival from 5-7 February, Ban Phonngam, Atsaphon District to join the Brou people, who were recently recognized by the government as Laos’ 50 ethnic group, in celebrating their culture and food.

An official in charge of the event, Somneuk Keosihathilath, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday the festival is held annually, but this year’s festival is likely to be much larger.

The festival’s first day will feature a procession through the streets of Atsaphon, with Brou people wearing traditional garb and carrying a banana leaf, known as “kabongyay”. The kabongyay is over 15 metres long, and will be set ablaze at the end of the parade.

Visitors can also sample Brou foods, see and purchase items made by local artisans, and enjoy the local hospitality. Model kabongyays are generally sold at the event, Mr Somneuk said.

The Brou culture has caught the public eye over the last few months, since the recent National Assembly approved the Brou as an official Lao ethnic group. This country now officially has 50 ethnic groups.

The majority of the Brou people live in Savannakhet with some communities in neighbouring provinces. 

According to statistics, nearly 300,000 Brou people live in Laos, mostly in rural, remote locales, and grow crops and rear animals for their livelihood.

Aside from the Boun Kabongyay festival, Savannakhet has many other places of interest to visitors.

The Dong Ling monkey forest offers a close up look at the area’s macaques. Tad Phalong and Salen waterfalls can be seen after a short walk.

Savannakhet province also has some old and important temples including Vat Xayyaphoum and Vat Taleo. 

The Hotay Pidok library at Ban Nong Lam Chanh houses some of the oldest and most important Buddhist manuscripts in Laos. Many visitors also enjoy shopping for weaving and silk products, especially from the Phoutai people, who live in and around Vilabouly District.

A festival is held every month in Savannakhet. The Boun Pha That Phonh stupa festival runs for three days in February. A rocket festival takes place in June and a boat racing festival occurs in October/November.

To find out more about Savannakhet, click here.