The Lao new year commences in mid-April, lasting three days. The whole country shuts down to worship and celebrate – Buddha images are washed, offerings made at the temples, and votive sand stupas are made in yards all over the country. Finally, Laotians spray water gleefully upon one another. As the temperatures are rising at this time of the year, the constant drenching can be a great relief from the heat. For the locals, the water festivities are their way of calling for rain from above.