For three months, Buddhist monks retreat into their temples to read the teachings of Buddha and meditate. There are also hardly any weddings and parties in Laos, as this is taken as a period of fasting.
Boun Ok Phansa marks the end of this period. By dawn, people would have lined up outside temples to submit offerings and donations to the monks. In the evening, candlelight processions are held at the temples. Hundreds of colorful floats, each decorated with flowers, incense and candles, will be set adrift down the Mekong River to pay respect to the river spirit. Laotians also make paper lanterns to release into the air. When everything is lit, it is a sight to behold.
Since it is the end of the rainy season, the water level of the river will start to recede; the following day, the final boat race is held to celebrate the Mekong River. It is a popular and exciting event, as the competition also symbolises the purification of illnesses and misfortune by the river.