the Introduction of The People's Democratic Republic Laos
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    The People's Democratic Republic Laos is the least developed and most enigmatic of the three former French Indochinese states. A ruinous sequence of colonial domination.

General Information

The People's Democratic Republic Laos  is the least developed and most enigmatic of the three former French Indochinese states. A ruinous sequence of colonial domination, internecine conflict and dogmatic socialism finally brought the country to its knees in the 1970s, and almost ten per cent of the population left. Now, after two decades of isolation from the outside world, this landlocked, sparsely populated country is enjoying peace, stabilising its political and economic structures and admitting foreign visitors - albeit in limited numbers due to a general lack of infrastructure. The lack of foreign influence offers travellers an unparalleled glimpse of traditional South-East Asian life. From the fertile lowlands of the Mekong River valley to the rugged Annamite highlands, travellers who have made it to Laos tend to agree that this country is the highlight of South-East Asia.

Full country name: Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR)

Area: 236,000 sq km (92,040 sq m)

Population: 5.5 million

Capital city: Vientiane (pop 500,000)

People: 50% Lao Loum (lowland Lao), 30% Lao Theung (lower-mountain dwellers of mostly proto-Malay or Mon-Khmer descent), 10-20% Lao Sung (Hmong or Mien high-altitude hill tribes) and 10-20% tribal Thais

Language: Lao and Lao dialects (closely related to Thai), French

Religion: 60% Buddhist, 40% animist and spirit cults

Government: Socialist republic

President: Khamtai Siphandon

Prime Minister: Bounyang Volachit

GDP: US$9.7 billion

GDP per head: US$1700

Annual growth: 4%

Inflation: 6%

Major products/industries: Rice, tobacco, coffee, tin mining, timber, and opium

Major trading partners: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan

Culture and Tradition

Buddhist racing boat

After performing the Buddhist lent for three months, in the rainy season starting from the 1st dark moon of the eight month to the 1st dark moon of the eleventh moon, the closing ceremony is organized. Firstly, the performance of Buddhist lent activities is the responsibilities of the monks, not for the lay people. There after, the form of the ceremony change as the villagers decide to prepare the offerings for merit making. So in the morning of the fifteen day of the eleventh month, the villagers take the offerings to the temples and listen to Buddha's teaching while the candles ceremony, light worshipping and fire boat festivities are performed in the evening. In the next day, the 1st dark moon of the eleven month, boat racing is organized on the Mekong river. The Buddhist Lent closing ceremony is performed in the same way as the beginning of Buddhist Lent, Boun Hokaopradabdine and Boun Khao Sark or Salark. At the festival day Buddhist villagers, dressed in new and beautiful clothes take the silver bowls or plateful of food and materials to offer the monks for merit making.

Culture trade

Tradition :

Traditionally, a Buddhist ceremony which is performed every year is called Hidsipsong, tradition of 12 months, while the fourteen rules on salutation made by officials, sister-in-law, husband and wife and all Loa people are called Khongsipsi. These above are intended to express salutation and loving kindness to the god and people. Baci is multi-purpose ceremony to express the best wishes for the important days of lives such as new babies, marriages, departures, visiting friend and others. Holy white cotton strings are tied round hands of the women with kapok, coiled hair style.

Eating :

90% of Loa people consume sticky rice. The ware kept the rice after steaming is called Tikao or kongkao and can be taken to every where. The arrangement of food is on the food big plate. The main food are Lap, Koy, Ping.

Culture & Society :

Smiles, Loves liberty, no quarrels, no oppression, respect the nation, reputation and honor with their lives. Commonly Lao people are fully of love and respect others. "To visit north or south, meal can be requested, but visitors, no need to study in the hotels or pay for food".

Language and Religion

Lao language is the national language. Other languages used are French, English, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese.

Religion

Buddhism first appeared in Laos during the eighth century A.D. as shown by both the Buddha image and the stone inscription found at Ban Talat near Vientiane, now exhibited at the Museum of Hoprakao. Today Theravada Buddhism is the professed religion of about 90% of Lao people.

After the foundation of the unified Kingdom of Lane Xang, King Fan gum (14th century) declared. Buddhism as the state religion and urged the people to the abandon animism or other beliefs such as the cult of spirits. His policy meant to develop the Laos culture based on a common faith: the Theravada Buddhism.

Culture

Lao people boast a plethora of distinctive monuments and architectural styles. One of the most notable structures is That luang, the Great Sacred Stupa, in Vientiane. Its dome like Stupa and four-cornered superstructure is the model for similar monuments throughout Laos. Stupas serve to commemorate the life of the Buddha and many Stupas are said to house sacred relics (parts of Buddha's body). Generally, Hinayana Buddhists cremate the dead body then collected the bone and put in stupa which up in a round the temple.

People of Laos

The population of Lao PDR has reached 5,218,000, and is growing at an annual 2.4%. The average population density is 21 per square kilometre, giving Lao the lowest population density in Asia. The highest population in Lao is in Vientiane municipality, with 149 per square kilometre, while the lowest population density is in Saysomboun Special Zone, at 8 per square kilometre.