Group of Lao praying around a floral centerpiece (pha kwan), part of a Buddhist baci ceremony. Minneapolis Photograph Collection 1981.
Briefly the Baci or su kwan, which means “calling of the soul,”is a ceremony to celebrate a special event, whether a marriage, a homecoming, a welcome, a birth, or one of the annual festivals. A mother is given a baci after she has recovered form a birth, the sick are given bacis to facilitate a cure, officials are honored by bacis, and novice monks are wished luck with a baci before entering the temple. The Baci ceremony can take place any day of the week and all year long, preferably before noon or before sunset.