Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival

Date August 20, 2016
Time 9:00 am – 8:00 pm

Event Description

Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival
Sampas Pavilion - 500 Pawtucket Blvd., Lowell, MA
Saturday, August 20th, 2016

The Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival is dedicated to the preservation, protection and sharing of the cultural heritages of the Southeast Asian Americans of the Greater Lowell Area. Every third Saturday in August, more than 60,000 people from around the U.S. and the world come to Lowell to celebrate the importance of water as it is celebrated in Southeast Asia. They come for the blessings, food, crafts, performances and the long boat races.

Since 1997, the Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival has celebrated the varied cultures and traditions of Khmer, Thai, Laotian and other Southeast Asian communities from all over the world. 

Buddhist scripture explains that the Water Festival is held to thank the spirit of the water, to pray for the banishment of evil spirits and to honor the Dragon King who dwells in the water. Most importantly, it is a time to be thankful for the oceans, rivers, lakes and ponds that villagers depend on for their livelihood and economic development.

On the morning of the races, the boats are blessed by venerable Buddhist monks, a centuries-old tradition. Sometimes, there is a parade along the Merrimack river near the Sampas pavilion. Traditional performances with elaborate costumes and intricate choreography, such as blessing dances, are also performed.

Community groups and businesses are encouraged to set up a range of different booths. These booths often share information about a product, service, company or organization. Merchandise can also be sold at these booths. A number of booths are free to the public and many, if not all, are child-friendly. The most popular ones are the delectable and mouth-watering food booths!

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