Festival celebrates Vat Phou’s 15th year as world heritage site

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The annual Vat Phou Festival and the celebration of the 15th anniversary of Vat Phou in Laos' Champassak province as a World Heritage Site officially kicked off on Saturday, with large numbers of people taking part in a huge parade, reported Vientiane Times.

Some 3,000 people from 10 districts of the province took part in over 10 parades at the grand opening ceremony of the annual Vat Phou Festival and the 15th anniversary of the temple’s listing as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001.

The opening ceremony began with traditional performances by well known local folksingers and invited performers from Vientiane, along with a parade by local secondary school students.

Officials also took part in parades, as well as the residents of 10 districts. The colourful parades reflected the people’s everyday life, culture, and the symbols of their districts.

Among those attending the opening ceremony were Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Prof Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, Governor of Champassak province Dr Bounthong Divixay, Deputy Minister of National Defence Major General Vilay Lakhamfong, governors of neighbouring provinces, and foreign diplomats and ambassadors.