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Laos Commemorates Lao National Day

Lao National Day in Laos is a public holiday.

Lao National Day: December 2

Lao National Day in Laos is a public holiday.

Laos commemorates this day as the day when the masses finally overcame the monarchy on December 2, 1975.

History of Lao National Day in Laos

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 influential 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 half-brother, Prince Souphanouvong, agreed to establish a union that would involve two ministers of the Pathet Lao. However, at this point the influence 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 Phouma, the Pathet Lao once again renewed its guerilla warfare.

The Pathet Lao reinforced their stance in Laos, and talks began for a cease-fire as the United States was preoccupied in trying to finish 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 Democratic 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 officials, 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.

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