This celebrates the 1975 victory ofthe proletariat over the monarchy with parades, speech-es, etc. Lao national and communist hammer and sickle ?ags are ?own all over the country. Celebration is mandatory, hence poorer communities postpone some of the traditional Ok Phan-sa activities usually practiced roughly a month earlier-until National Day, thus saving themselves considerable expense.
December 2, 1975, the Pathet Lao (literally “the Lao people,” the announces the abolition of the monarchy (as of 29 November, the King and Queen Savang Vatthana Khamphoui are forced to abdicate), and proclaims the democratic Republic of Laos. Prince Souphanouvong Thao is then sworn in President.
The new flag is introduced: blue, white and red … the color red represents the blood shed for independence, and the blue represents the Mekong, or health of the country. The white disc symbolizes the moon over the Mekong, or the unity of the country under the Communist government.
Each year takes place on this occasion a rally at the ?rst light of day. Village by village, under large banners glori?ed this day, people gather. In Luang Prabang, this is the new stadium that converges all formations, si-lently, almost reverently. Some ethnic groups have donned their costumes and parade proudly.
It’s very surprising to ?nd that peace reigns in the city on that day. Most people celebrate the anniversary at home with friends.
In the 1950s, the United States was mostly involved with restricting the expansion of communism into Southeast Asia. However, France wanted to preserve the power of the in?uential Lao elites who continually helped the French colonial government. Meanwhile, negotiations to involve the Pathet Lao in the political scene of the country had already begun. In November 1957, the Prime Miniser Prince Souvanna Phouma and his halfbrother, Prince Souphanouvong, agreed to establish a union that would involve two ministers of the Pathet Lao. However, at this point the in?uence of the French in Laos was on the decline. The United States was against any union that would include the pro-communist Pathet Lao. A right-leaning, anti-communist group backed by the US ousted the government of Souvanna Phouma and later manipulated the new elections. In 1959, with the ouster of Souvanna Phou-ma, the Pathet Lao once again renewed its guerilla warfare.
The Pathet Lao reinforced their stance in Laos, and talks began for a cease-?re as the United States was preoccupied in trying to ?nish the Vietnam War. The Lao political groups consented to an end of hostilities early in 1973, and in April 1974, they created a coalition government that represented both sides. The Pathet Lao quickly obtained political supremacy. The Pathet Lao seized power in Laos as South Vietnam and Cambodia fell to communists in April of 1975.
The Pathet Lao refocused their efforts in December 1975 as they compelled the king to relinquish his throne, decreeing that the Lao People’s Democrat-ic Republic be modeled on other communist countries. The North Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao continued their close relationship. The freshly installed regime in Laos was dependent on Vietnam for both economic and military aid as they intently matched the policies of their governments. To prop up the new regime in Laos, Vietnam also posted troops in Laos. Real authority was with Kaysone Phomvihan, the secretary general of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP), which had led the Pathet Lao to victory even as Souphanouvong was installed as the new president.
Laos’ Lao National Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
The government celebrates this day with speeches by Lao government of?cials, parades, and the exhibition of the hammer and sickle almost everywhere. Most poor communities save themselves the sizeable cost of observing two major events, only one month separating them, by postponing their Awk Phansa celebrations.