One of the French men staying at Natalie's Kitchen has been in the country for 11 years and has completed building his home and so while we were having breakfast there were invited to attend his house blessing ceremony and to partake in the celebrations.
Nothing is Laos happens without a religious ceremony and so we along with a few other tourist packed into the van and drove off into the countryside towards the house. Upon arrival, the food preparation was well underway with women handling the cooking working huge pots of food on open flames in the grassy area. A local priest arrived and the ceremony began with the priest and all the guests completing four circles around the house. We then went inside, sat down around the food offering, and were given kramas to wear around our chest. The priest began chanting prayers and women went around to all the guests with plates of food, while another would tie white strings around our wrists symbolizing guardian spirits. More offerings were made of rice, fruits, and alcohol, which the priest would squirt out of his mouth and shower the guests with. After the ceremony ended, we walked out on the large wooden platform, sat on the floor, and were presented with a bounty of food consisting of sticky rice, grilled fish, fish stew, blood soup, noodles, skewered meats, and salad. We ate with gusto, chatted, and met the men who put together the house in five days.
We spent the day lazing on mats in the grass overlooking the river eating and chatting. We were definitely honored guests as we didn't have to lift a finger and one of the women would bring us pillows to make our horizontal life even more comfortable along with plates of food if we got hungry. As if we hadn't eaten enough, plates of Papayas were served for desert along with cold fruit soup, which was delicious. We ended the day with another pretty sunset and came back into town to end a perfect day.
The rest of out days here were spent getting bikes and riding out to a lake to picnic along its banks and visit some stupas along the way.