Student Spotlight: Soraya Sivongsa Miss Laotian New Year 2018

Brienna Haro, Editor/Writer

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On April 22nd, 2018, Murray’s very own junior, Soraya Sivongsa, was crowned Miss Laotian New Year 2018 for Wat Laos Sandy Temple.

The tradition of this pageant surrounds itself around the old Laotian king, Kabinphoam. There are seven contestants that represent his seven daughters that were in line for the crown.

Soraya was judged on the traditional dress she was wearing, her ability to speak Laos, how much money she raised for the temple, and how she interacted with the crowd and the people that make up the temple.  However, each temple is different when it comes to judging the pageant participants.

Soraya Sivongsa with her partner, mingling with the crowd.

One of the events within the pageant was answering the question, “Why would you want to be Miss Laotian New Year 2018?”

Soraya replied by saying how she would like to get the youth more involved with their rich culture.  She feels that many kids these days have forgotten the history and meaning behind the traditions it holds.

The pageant was held on Laos New Year where the new year is welcomed with open arms.  During the pageant, the contestants were put on a parade float where they made many trips around their temple, while the people would follow them throwing water at each other trying to “wash off” the negative energy to ready you for the good.

After the parade was done, Soraya and the other contestants participated in a blessing ritual with the monks from their temple.  The girls and their partners were very respectful while doing so to ensure that everything was done correctly.

Soraya on the parade float going around the temple.

The participants had to wait until the following week until Soraya was crowned Miss Laotian New Year 2018.

In the beginning of the Pageant, Soraya doubted herself because she usually doesn’t participate in many public events as big as this, but she wanted to push herself out of her comfort zone because she felt that this was very important to her.

Soraya takes pride in being Laotian and hopes that Laos will be recognized more often.  The country itself is close by Thailand and yet not many people know about it.

Laos has become more modernized throughout time with more technology and more representation of their culture in other countries around the world.  In the future, Soraya hopes to go to collage and study language so she can go back to Laos and help with communications.

She is excited to see what this new year brings her and all the events she will be apart of.

After the Crowning moment with the other participants.

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