Baci Ceremony 5
The Baci Ceremony is an important Lao cultural and spiritual animist ceremony invoking the 32 kwan or spirits that make up the components of the soul. The ceremony is held for all special occasions, such as the birth of a baby, a wedding, new year, or in our case, travellers arriving from afar; and is very special, half the village was invited to take part.
The local shaman leads the ‘prayers’ and after the spirits have been called back into your soul, you present each of the people present with a gift containing money wrapped up in a cone made from banana leaves and flowers.
Each of the guests present tie a white thread (symbolising purity) around your wrist for peace, harmony, good fortune, good health, human warmth and community. You must wear them for three days at least, preferably until they fall off (I managed to put up with mine for three weeks before they became so tatty that they had to come off!)
After the ceremony, everyone in the room is invited to stay for a sumptuous feast of food and drink.
We felt very honoured and humble to be allowed to take part in this very special part of the Lao heritage.