A traditional ‘Baci’ ceremony was held to thanks the girls for teaching and wish them good fortune and safe travels on their onward journey.
Getting the chicken “ready” for the ceremony
White bracelets were tied around the wrists for good luckThrough research later, we discover that what we had experienced was a traditional ‘Baci Ceremony,’ held in particular by Lao communities to protect people who are travelling. In Lao culture it is believed that the body contains spirits (khuan) which can sometimes leave the body and not return. If the spirits are lost the person may experience problems. The ‘Baci Ceremony’ is performed to summon the spirits back to the body and restore harmony. The ceremony is performed by a ‘Mor phon’, an elder who is sometimes a Buddhist Monk. People usually sit in a circle around a beautiful flower arrangement in the centre of the room. Foreigners are given a bowl of cooked chicken and rice as an offering and a blessing and they are often asked to drink a cup of Lao rice wine. This ritual is believed to ensure that they will always have enough to eat throughout their lives. Traditional Lao ceremonies frequently end with the important ritual of tying of white cotton threads around the wrists. As a knot is tied in the piece of string, the soul of the guest is firmly tied to their bodies to prevent future wandering. It was a beautiful, welcoming ceremony and we were so thankful to be included in their rituals and culture. It was without doubt the most touching moment of the trip. Danielle “Of course I cried because I was so overcome with emotion and happiness! Which was actually comical because Courtney had just explained that tears meant “sad,” so we then had to explain that there are happy tears as well!”
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