Pra Thatlouang Festival in California

November 29, 2002

Source: The Fresno Bee

On November 29, 2002 The Fresno Bee reported that "there isn't much built yet at Wat Phouthapathan Lao, the Lao Buddhist temple complex on Walnut, north of Jensen in southwest Fresno [in CA]. But what's there is a start on an ambitious plan to preserve the centuries-old Lao culture and religion in the central San Joaquin Valley. And Thursday, as many Americans gorged on turkey and trimmings, Fresno's Lao community began a four-day celebration of music, dancing, food, handiworks and religion. The Pra Thatlouang Festival is the Laotian culture's biggest annual event, but it is a first for the Fresno temple, said Sinthara 'Sean' Chanthavixay, a Fresno real estate agent and member of the festival's organizing committee. Chanthavixay said organizers hope the festival will draw at least 1,000 guests -- not just from lowland Lao, who number about 5,000 in Fresno County, according to the 2000 Census, but also from their more numerous Laotian highland neighbors, the Hmong, of whom the census counted more than 22,000."