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The festival is also celebrated by the Lao in the United States of America, Canada, France, England and Australia.
The official festival lasts for three days from April 14 to April 16 (although celebrations can last more than a week in towns like Luang Prabang). Houses and villages are properly cleaned on the first day.Perfume, water and flowers are also prepared for the Lao New Year.The second day of the festival is the "day of no day", a day that falls in neither the old year or the new year.The last day of the festival marks the start of the new year.Water is used for washing homes, Buddha images, monks, and soaking friends and passers-by.Students first respectfully pour water on their elders, then monks for blessings of long life and peace, and last of all they throw water at each other.
The water is perfumed with flowers or natural perfumes.Some people prefer flowers in the water to give a pleasant smell, as well as adding cologne/perfume.Over the years another tradition has developed with Lao New Year: people will smear or throw cream (shaving cream or whipped cream) or white powder on each other during the celebrations.Sand is brought to the temple grounds and is made into stupas or mounds, then decorated before being given to the monks as a way of making merit. One way is to go to the beach, and the other way is to bring sand to the vat, or temple.Sand stupas are decorated with flags, flowers, white lines, and splashed with perfumed water.Sand stupas symbolize the mountain, Phoukhao Kailat, where King Kabinlaphrôm's head was kept by his seven daughters. Senior monks take the younger monks to a garden filled with flowers, where they pick flowers and bring back to the wat to wash.