This is a short anthropology film made in Laos about the way the village communities care for the departed, and the festivals that have developed around this need.
The festivals, as related by the Ajahn at one of the temples explains, are really a mix of local folk customs and Buddhism.
The film looks at the preparations, the activities that take place on the day and interviews participants to understand the significance they draw from the festivals.
The two festivals looked at in this way are the Rice Growing (padanpin) festival and the Ancestors (salak) festival, and shows how these are woven into the seasonal changes.
The first mainly concerns the ability of the monk Phra Malai to descend into hell and bring release to those who suffer there; and the second is a kind of lottery festival which coincides with the end of the Rains Retreat,
Mainly the traditions have coalesced into elaborate offerings made to the monks and the transference of merits to the departed.
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