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Culture, Literature and Poetry

Jatakas, Jataka tales, Hindu god Vishnu, Hindu epic, Ramayana

Universal to the literature and poetry of Laos, as well as to its dance, music, and sculpture, are oral myths and legends based on the Phra Lak Phra Lam, the Lao version of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. This tale of Rama, a prince and the seventh incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, is known and loved throughout Southeast Asia. Other popular Lao literature includes the Jatakas, stories of previous incarnations of the Buddha. Both the Phra Lak Phra Lam and the Jataka tales contain moral metaphors enacted through rigorous battles in which good always triumphs over evil. Favorite stories tell how heroic princes defeat powerful demons. During the Vietnam War, popular literature told of love and the heroism of young soldiers. Since 1975 political censorship has limited the flowering of Lao literature.

Article key phrases:

Jatakas, Jataka tales, Hindu god Vishnu, Hindu epic, Ramayana, popular literature, Favorite stories, Vietnam War, Buddha, sculpture, legends, evil, Southeast Asia, dance, music, love


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