Lao National Day on December 2 is an annual holiday in the Southeast Asian country of Laos. The holiday marks the end of the monarchy’s rule and the establishment of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1975.
History of Lao National Day
Lao National Day is usually observed as a public holiday and if it falls on a weekend, a public holiday will be declared on the following Monday.
Laos was a French protectorate for most of the 20th century and, following the end of World War II, resistance to French control grew, leading to the founding of the Pathet Lao resistance organization by the Indochinese Communist Party. The armed struggle that resulted is what is known as the First Indochina War, and it led to Laos gaining independence as a constitutional monarchy under King Sisavang Phoulivong in October 1953.
Laos’ path to becoming a communist republic started when, in 1975, the Pathet Lao, with the support of North Vietnam and the Soviet Union, overthrew the royalist Lao government and forced King Savang Vatthana to abdicate.
On the same day, the Pathet Lao government under Kaysone Phomvihane renamed the country the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Although the country is seen as politically stable, it is relatively poor compared to other neighboring countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and India. The landlocked country is also one of the world’s few remaining communist states and despite economic reforms after several wars, the country remains poor and heavily dependent on foreign aid.
Lao National Day timeline
Laos becomes a French protectorate.
The resistance to French control becomes an armed struggle against occupation and is known as the First Indochina War.
The first Lao National Day is held in Laos on December 2 to mark the end of the monarchy and the establishment of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.
Bounnhang Vorachit is appointed as president in April; four months after being installed as head of the country's ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party.
Lao National Day FAQs
Is Laos a poor country?
Laos is a relatively poor country compared to other neighboring countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and India.
What is a person from Laos called?
They’re known as Kohn Lao (Lao people) although both ‘Lao’ and ‘Laotian’ are more widely used. Within its borders, ‘Lao’ is a universal term for almost everything.
Why is Laos the most bombed country?
Bombing Laos was seen as a safer way to cut off communist supply lines into Vietnam before they could be used against American troops. The bombing focused on disrupting communist supply chains on the Ho Chi Minh trail and Sepon, a village near a former French airbase, which is now controlled by North Vietnam.
How to Observe Lao National Day
One way to observe Lao National Day is to visit the country for the event in person! The celebration usually includes official speeches, solemn ceremonies, and colorful parades with hundreds of spectators.
Read up on its history
Learn about the history of Laos! Discover what led to it being bombed millions of times during several past wars, and how it became the most bombed country in the entire world.
Talk about it on social media
Share your thoughts on Laos, its national day celebration, or government on social media. Kickstart a discussion that helps to generate much-needed awareness for the country!
5 Things You Should Know About Laos
It’s landlocked and bordered by five countries
Laos is bounded to the north by China, to the northeast and east by Vietnam, to the south by Cambodia, to the west by Thailand, and to the northwest by Myanmar.
Huge water fights
Laos’ New Year celebrations include huge water fights, where people get doused with water and flour in the streets by strangers
UNESCO World Heritage site
The Champasak Cultural Landscape is inscribed as a cultural landscape on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
According to records, around 80 million of the bombs dropped within the territory of Laos during the Second World War failed to explode and continue to affect daily life in the country.
Laos became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1997.
Why Lao National Day is Important
Lao National Day is widely celebrated throughout the country! The day is marked with official speeches, solemn ceremonies, and parades with hundreds of spectators holding red flags, hammers, and sickles.
It shows the strength of Laos’ will
Lao National Day reminds us of the country’s immense willpower. Certainly, it takes a lot of willpower to go about your daily activities, knowing there are about 80 million undetonated and potentially dangerous bombs within your country’s borders.
It generates awareness
Being a small country of only seven million people and being surrounded by powerhouse Asian nations means Laos often goes under the radar. This celebration draws attention to the country.
Lao National Day dates