ບຸນໄຫລເຮືອໄຟ (lit. festival float boat fire/light) is celebrated during Ok Phansa at the end of the three-month rains retreat (Buddhist Lent), which usually falls on a full moon day in October. In Luang Prabang, people make lanterns & parade floats which are carried through town in a procession before being launched onto the Mekong & floated downriver towards Ban Wat That.
Some of the lantern designs in Luang Prabang are similar to those made in North Thailand for Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง, also called Deuan Sorng in Kham Meuang คำเมือง or Northern Thai language), the Lanna version of the Thai festival of Loy Krathong. The cat found some leftovers hanging around Wat Mahathat:
Khom daao (ໂຄມດາວ lit. lantern star):
There are other types like khom bang (ໂຄມບັ້ງ lit. lantern tube/cylinder), khom kaab (ໂຄມກາບ lit. lantern bowing with palms together in prayer) & khom bpin (ໂຄມປິ່ນ lit. lantern spin). The cat is most fascinated by the latter, known as khom phat (โคมผัด) in North Thailand. It consists of an inner frame with cut-out figures of animals & people that rotates within an outer frame, casting moving shadows (click to see movie).
The lanterns are kinda hard to pack & carry or ship home, or else locals could start making some for sale to tourists =P Apparently they are made only in the upper north, a laomeow consultant who says...
yes, i know how to cut the paper to make the stars...i made the stars by myself. i looked at some monk do it so i can study from them
...was disappointed when he moved to Vientiane & no one there made anything except krathong-type floats when Ok Phansa 2007 came round, making him even more homesick. The cat started making simple Chinese papercuttings (剪纸 jian2 zhi3) like this & this when it was 12 years old...perhaps it should ask him to teach it a few Lanna designs.
This has something to do with the story of Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year in mid-April):