|1||January||New Year's Day|
In countries which use the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day is usually celebrated on 1 January. The order of months in the Roman calendar has been January to December since King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC, according to Plutarch and Macrobius. However, Roman writers identified years by naming the year's consuls, who did not enter office on 1 January until 153 BC. Since then 1 January has been the first day of the year, except during the Middle Ages when several other days were the first (1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, 25 December). With the expansion of Western culture to the rest of the world during the twentieth century, the 1 January date became global, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations on other days (e.g., China and India). At present, the celebration of the New Year is a major event worldwide. Many large-scale events are held in major cities around the world, with many large fireworks events on New Year's Eve (31 December). Sydney launched over 80,000 fireworks at midnight, and had more than one and a half million attendees; it was also the most-watched event on television worldwide last year. In Valparaiso upwards of two million visitors witnessed the largest fireworks display in a natural setting; a total of more than 21 kilometers of fireworks on the bay, from the commercial port city of Valparaiso to Concon, Chile, all in 25 minutes of entertainment. London's New Year celebrations centre around the London Eye, with an impressive fireworks display while Big Ben strikes midnight. In New York, the celebration is focused around a large crystal ball that descends in a one minute countdown in Times Square. Edinburgh plays host to one of the world's largest Hogmanay events. The celebrations last for four days and attract visitors from around the globe to take part in street parties and attend concerts. In the culture of Latin America there are a variety of traditions and superstitions surrounding these dates as omens for the coming year. January remains a symbol of the New Year's celebration. According to the Christian tradition, 1 January coincides with the circumcision of Christ (eight days after birth), when the name of Jesus was given to him (Luke 2: 21).
|16||February||Chinese New Year|
Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is sometimes called the "Lunar New Year" by English speakers. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī. It literally means "Year-pass Eve". Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Lunar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most. Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans (Seollal), Tibetans and Bhutanese (Losar), Mongolians (Tsagaan Sar), Vietnamese (Tết), and formerly the Japanese before 1873 (Oshogatsu). Outside of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, Chinese New Year is also celebrated in countries with significant Han Chinese populations, such as Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. In countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, although Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations and Australia Post, Canada Post, and the US Postal Service issues New Year's themed stamps.
|8||March||International Women's Day|
International Women's Day (IWD) is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. Started as a political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries (primarily Russia and the countries of former Soviet bloc). In some celebrations, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love to the women around them in a way somewhat similar to Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day mixed together. In others, however, the political and human rights theme as designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.
|22||March||Day of the People's Party|
The Lao People's Revolutionary Party (Laotian: ພັກປະຊາຊົນປະຕິວັດລາວ) is a communist political party that has governed Laos since 1975. The policy-making organs are the politburo and the central committee. A party congress, which elects members to the politburo and central committee, is held every five years. The congress used to also elect a secretariat, but this body was abolished in 1991. In 2007, 113 of the 115 members of the National Assembly of Laos were from the LPRP.
International Workers' Day (a name used interchangeably with may day) is a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labor movement. May Day commonly sees organized street demonstrations and street marches by millions of working people and their labour unions throughout most of the countries of the world.
|19||August||Vixakha Bouxa (Vesak, Buddha Purnima, ວິຊຂບູຊ)|
The Vixakha Bouxa festival is the Lao version of the Thai Visakha Puja, which it closely resembles. It commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha, which are all said to have happened on the same date. It is held around the month of May or Vesak, based on the lunar calendar. Celebrations include dances, poems, parades, processions, deep meditation, theatrical performances, and puppet shows. One part of the Vixakha Bouxa festival is called Boun Bang Fay, or Rocket Festival. As this is during the hottest and driest season of the year, large homemade rockets are launched into the sky in an attempt to convince the celestial beings to send down rain. Traditionally, Buddhist monks made the rockets out of hollow bamboo tubes filled with gunpowder (among other things). Nowadays, lay people make the bang fai more like fireworks and hold competitions for the highest, fastest and most colorful rockets. The event takes on both sides of the Mekhong River border between Thailand and the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, and sometimes teams from the neighbouring countries will compete against each other.
In 1975, the communist Pathet Lao, along with Vietnam People's Army and backed by the Soviet Union, overthrew the royalist Lao government, forcing King Savang Vatthana to abdicate on 2 December 1975. After taking control of the country, the Pathet Lao government under Kaysone Phomvihane renamed the country as the "Lao People's Democratic Republic" and signed agreements giving Vietnam the right to station armed forces and to appoint advisers to assist in overseeing the country.
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