Luang Prabang, Laos (November 1, 2010) – Peter Haymond, Chargé d’Affaires for the U.S. Embassy in Laos, represented the U.S. Government October 29 at the opening ceremony of Luang Prabang’s first Ethnic Cultural Festival. The U.S. Embassy contributed $7,500 (US) towards sponsoring this event.
The festival, which took place from October 29 – 31, was a celebration of the ethnic diversity of Luang Prabang province. Seven different ethnic minority communities from the province participated in the festival with songs, dances, games, activities, food, and handicrafts.
The Luang Prabang Ethnic Cultural Festival was co-organized by the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre and the Luang Prabang Provincial Department of Information and Culture.
The main stage featured music and dance performances, including traditional Tai Dam bamboo flutes (pi pup and pi nyao), a Tai Lue sword dance, Hmong leaf-blowing music, and a Kmhmu courtship song accompanied by a khaen player. Traditional sports and games were also played throughout the weekend.
In booths, village artisans demonstrated a variety of traditional arts and crafts such as Kmhmu vine weaving, Lao silversmithing, Tai Dam cotton weaving, Tai Lue natural textile dyeing, Lao silk production, and mulberry paper-making, Yao embroidery, Kmhmu bamboo basketry and native food.
In other Embassy news last month, a contribution of 3,280 metric tons of rice from the United States of America through the United National World Food Program was made in Vientiane, to help more than 100,000 people struggling with the effects of natural disasters in Lao PDR.
The U.S. donation enables WFP to provide more than 218,000 monthly rations of rice to help alleviate malnutrition and food insecurity in disaster-struck communities.
“We are here today to thank the U.S. government and people for their continued generous support to the Lao PDR. This rice is helping protect family members in the most vulnerable households from becoming malnourished,” said Paul Howe at the ceremony. “It will also allow caretakers to remain with children already suffering from under nutrition while they complete their treatment at health centers.”
The United States has been a consistent partner of WFP in the Lao PDR for many years, supporting relief and recovery activities, as well school meals. Last year, U.S. donated rice helped alleviated the suffering of communities across northern Laos after a major rodent infestation left more than130,000 people in urgent need of food assistance.