Caring for the Beyond Two Buddhist Festivals for the Deceased



In Lao Buddhism the relationship between the living and the dead is expressed and perpetuated in rituals. The ‘Festival of rice packets covering the earth’ and the ‘Festival of rice drawn by lots’ are part of the annual ritual cycle of Lao Buddhists and are performed in the 9th lunar month at new moon and full moon respectively. Both rituals are occasions for caring for deceased relatives, ghosts and agricultural divinities by transferring food and merit to them. Like in other Southeast Asian cultures that have adopted Theravada Buddhism, monks play a crucial role as mediators between the living and the deceased. This ethnographic documentary focuses on the preparations in the households of Buddhist laypeople and the performance of the rituals in two temples. It takes a detailed look at the objects of exchange that constitute links between the living, the monks and the dead and documents how care for the deceased is expressed in the cultural idioms of a localized Buddhism.
This film is part of the research project Buddhist Death Rituals of Southeast Asia and China (University of Bristol) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (United Kingdom). A film by Patrice Ladwig and Gregory Kourilsky.
Date made available14 Jun 2013
PublisherUniversity of Bristol


  • Laos
  • festivals for the dead
  • Southeast Asia
  • Lao festivals for the dead
  • Theravada Buddhism
  • Buddhism

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