Beliefs & Religions




The majority and almost official religion of Laos is Theravada Buddhism, also called "Small Vehicle" or Hinayana, which includes nearly 67 % of the population.

It is based on four basic truths taught in India by Siddhartha Gautama in the sixth century BC. AD The Lao Buddhist believes in reincarnation. The ideal is to directly reach nirvana (or nibbana) without going through reincarnation. Many Laotians believe that doing good and not evil enough to ensure his salvation. Doing good can acquire the merits or boun. As this word also means "party", some Laotians think it is enough to party to acquire merits ...
Most of the religious life unfolds around the monastery. The monks enjoyed great prestige and are highly respected.
The power has always said that Buddhism was part of the Lao identity.


There is a small Catholic community representing 1.5 % of the population. It consists of Laotians and Vietnamese. They have their churches in Vientiane and Savannakhet ...


The number of Muslims is very small, only 1% of the population. Vientiane mosque is frequented by mostly Pakistanis.

Animism and ancestor worship

If 30% of the population adhere fully, the great feature of Laos is Buddhism to coexist with pervasive animist practices. All Laotians believe in phis (pronounced "pi"). This word means both "spirit", "soul", "ghost "and" back ".
In theory, this belief is frowned upon by the regime. In principle, it is sufficient to construct a sort of small altar where it provides food for the phis keep quiet. That is, somehow, their "home."

Each village, but each province, the country itself, has its guardian spirits, the Lokapalas, so deeply rooted that they are even recognized and celebrated by Buddhism. Generally nocturnal, their appearances can take animal form.
All Laotians, even those who have studied in the West, believe more or less the phis. Do not try to mock


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