Happy New Year from the Mekong Elephant Park!

Our pachyderms and all the Mekong Elephant Park Team would like to wish you all a healthy and prosperous new year. May 2021 be a year of peace, harmony and, above all, a year respectful of other humans, animals and mother nature.

And as tradition goes, we have to start 2021 with a Baci to Thanks all of you for offering us the opportunity to stay strong during this difficult year and to call the good spirits for 2021.

Baci (meaning “calling of the soul”) is a traditional Laotian ceremony to drive out evil spirits. It is performed at all important events and occasions: marriage, funeral, birth, accident, illness, commemoration of an ancestor, etc.

The ritual usually takes place around a large tray filled with cones made of banana leaves and surrounded by offerings brought by the participants, on which colored flowers (often orange and white, as a reminder of Buddhist tradition) are pricked. White cotton yarn (symbolizes purity) is wrapped around bamboo sticks to make bracelets that symbolize prayers. A first knot will be made on the bracelet before being tied to the wrist of the person to be blessed and other guests. Before the bracelet is tied, the individual holds their hand chest-high as a sign of respect. The bracelet is normally worn by a person for at least three days and is then untied (the bracelet should not be cut). The recommended practice is to let the bracelet fall off on its own.

… And of course our elephants too have their Baci!*
In Laos, the elephant is the only animal that is entitled to the Baci. As this ceremony is usually reserved exclusively for human, this fact is a proof of the importance of elephants in Laos culture.

Discover the latest Baci for Mae Ping, Mae Bounma, Mae Kham and Kham Khoun!