The Soukhouane and the Lao People

The soukhouane ritual

The ritual known to the Lao as the Phithi Souane or Phithi Baci is a ritual to call back, welcome, propitiate and unite the khouane with the physical body.
It is the ubiquitous of all Lao functions and celebrations, and integral part if Lao family life. It can be held for a farewell, welcome, birth of a baby, birthdays, house warming, job promotions, harvest, new car, marriage and a New Year celebration.
The Soukhouane ritual is not a seasonal and does not follow any ‘official’ calendar of ceremonies and rites in Laos.
Although this ritual is not unique to the Lao, it has been said that is a Lao ceremony ‘par excellence’.
It contains an amalgam of the many religious and cultural traditions that have influenced Lao culture and it continues to adapt itself to political and cultural values.
The ceremony celebrates, in essence, important family occasions as well as communal events of significance and in an integral part of the life of the Lao.
It is a key element of Lao culture, being a microcosm of Lao values.

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