The Amblings and Ramblings of the Ingalls Family

The travels and thoughts of Heidi, Micah, and Frances...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Baci for Blessed October

Traditionally, the Lowland Lao and other groups hold a baci for anyone who is sick, or has recently had a significant change in their life situation, who is coming away, coming, etc. In Buddhist society, this involves someone from the local temple who chants whilst everyone sits around a central stupa praying. At the end of this, everyone will tie small white strings around the wrist of the person(s) for whom the baci is held, whilst saying a blessing or a prayer for them. The strings then represent the prayers of the community, and are believed to bring the person protection or good luck, etc.

Catholics in Laos also carry out bacis. Our host father, Lyntee, explained it as ‘doing Lao custom but praying to our God.’ When we first came to Laos, we spent our initital months living with a Lao Catholic family at the western side of Vientiane. It was perhaps the most encouraging moment for us when our family gave us a baci. Micah had recently all-but succumbed to an infection and has spent a couple of weeks in hospital, we had recently moved back into our family’s home and were about to leave for Phialat to begin work. Perhaps one hundred people gathered for our baci, singing worship songs and praying for us corporately and then each, individually as they tied strings on our wrists.

This past month our family held one for Blessed October (Frances) as well. These pictures are from this ceremony.


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