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RELIGION

Buddhism first appeared in Laos during the 18th century A.D.  The unified Kingdom of Lane Xang, in the 14th century declared Buddhism as the state religion and urged the people to abandon animism or other beliefs such as the cult of spirits.

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The policy was meant to develop the Laotian culture around one common faith, Theravada Buddhism.

Today, this form of Buddhism is now the professed religion for 90% of the Lao people.  Buddhism is an inherent feature of daily life and casts a strong influence on the society.  Lao woman can be seen each morning giving alms to monks, earning merit to lessen the number of their rebirth.  Lao men are expected to become a monk for at least a short time in their lives.  Traditionally, they spend three months during the rainy season in a Buddhist temple.  But nowadays most men curtail their stay to one or two weeks.

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