If March marks the end of traditional festivals of the Vietnamese, April is when people from Laos are preparing to welcome their annual traditional festival, Bunpimay. It is an occasion for Vietnamese to congratulate and join in the feast with the neighboring country.

Locals in Sop Bau district, Houaphan province of Laos are celebrating their traditional New Year, Bunpimay.

Houaphan is a contiguous province with the north central coast Thanh Hoa province of Vietnam. For years, the presence of Vietnamese friends in Laos’ important festivals has become familiar to generations of Lao people

Hua Phan and Thanh Hoa provinces are twin provinces, sharing nearly 200 km of border lines. Sob Bau district of Hua Phan province and Muong Lat district of Thanh Hoa province have a long and special bond.

Festivals and special events which see the presence of both sides are chances to nurture the traditional friendship between the Vietnamese and Lao people. The depth of the relations has been proved from generation to generation.

To Nguyen Huu Vinh and Nguyen Thi Loi, Laos has become their second fatherland.

The agreement on dealing with free migration in the contiguous region between the two countries signed by the Vietnamese and Lao governments in 2013 has created favourable condition for Vinh’s family to stabilise their lives and integrate with the locality’s economy, culture and society.

It’s the fifth time Vinh’s family has celebrated Bunpimay festival with their neighbors.

Bunpimay mean splashing water festival, Lao people believe that pure water will bring freshness, prosperity for all things, health, and happiness while chasing away bad luck and disease in the year ahead.

A special ceremony during Bunpimay which Vinh’s family and every Lao person enjoy is the procession of pageant queen spring gasoline Khan, one of the seven daughters of the Divine Quadrilateral God, a guardian God who is believed to brings happiness, health, and wealth for Lao people.

The participation of Vinh and other Vietnamese at the festival helps tighten the friendship which has been built up by many former leaders and people of the two nations.

The sound of Lam Vong rhythm and Vietnamese songs echo merrily in the mountainous area. People of the two nations join in songs and dances, together they are nurturing the special relations of the two nations, which are as strong as the mighty Truong Son Mountain, standing forever.-VNA