Home to the original Vientiane city pillar, Wat Si Muang is a busy temple with a constant flow of visitors making wishes and returning with more offerings once their wish has come true.
The temple is known for giving luck and fortune, and many people come from near and far to pray and receive blessings from the monks. Several variations of the legend behind the temple abound, but according to the Tourism Laos website, a young pregnant woman named Si sacrificed herself by jumping into a hole and a pillar was built over her body. It is believed her spirit guards Wat Si Muang.
Vendors around the gate sell flowers, incense, candles and caged birds (to be released so the do-gooder receives merit).
Respectful, modest dress is required, be discrete and do not interfere with worshippers or ceremonies taking place.
Wat Si Muang is also the starting point of the phasat pheung, a procession of wax candles that marks the beginning of Boun That Luang or That Luang Festival. It’s the country’s largest and most significant religious festival, taking place every year on the full moon of the 12th month of the Buddhist calendar (usually falling in November).
By Cindy Fan.
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