Pheng Xat Lao

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Pheng Xat Lao
English: National Anthem of Laos
Flag of Laos.jpg

National anthem of  Laos
Lyrics Sisana Sisane, 1975
Music Thongdy Sounthonevichit, 1941
Adopted 1945
Music sample

"Pheng Xat Lao" (Lao: ເພງຊາດລາວ; lit. English: Hymn of the Lao People) is the national anthem of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Dr. Thongdy Sounthonevichit composed the music and wrote the lyrics in 1941. This was adopted as the national anthem of the Kingdom of Laos in 1945. The original lyrics were revised after the Pathet Lao won the Laotian Civil War and the Lao People's Democratic Republic was established in 1975, with the new lyrics written by Sisana Sisane.[1]

Official lyrics[edit]

Official Lao Latin transcription English translation


Xat Lao thung tae dai ma
Lao tooktua na sertsoo soodjai,
Huamhang huamjid huamjai
Samakki gun bpen gumlung diao.
Detdiao pom gun gaona
Booxa soo giat kong Lao,
Songserm sai sit pen jao
Lao tooq sonepao summer pab gun.
Baw hai puak juggapud
Lae puak kaixat kaoma lob guan,
Lao tung muan soo ekalat
Itsalapab kong xat Lao wai,
Thud sinjai soo sing ao xay
Pa sad Lao pai soo kwarm watthana.

For all time the Lao people
Have glorified their Fatherland,
United in heart,
Spirit and vigour as one.
Resolutely moving forwards,
Respecting and increasing the dignity of the Lao people
And proclaiming the right to be their own masters.
The Lao people of all origins are equal
And will no longer allow imperialists [2]
And traitors to harm them.
The entire people will safeguard the independence
And the freedom of the Lao nation.
They are resolved to struggle for victory
In order to lead the nation to prosperity.


In 1893, Laos became a protectorate of France within its colonial empire. The French claimed their takeover was intended to protect Laos from its hostile neighbours like Siam, which was forced to cede Laos to the colonial power. Consequently, nationalistic sentiment did not develop as quickly as it did in Vietnam. However, the outbreak of the Second World War saw the fall of France to Nazi Germany. The new right-wing government in Siam saw this as an opportunity to reconquer Laos. To counteract this, the French actively promoted nationalism among the Lao people.[3]

As a direct result of this new liberalization, many patriotic songs were composed during this time.[4] "Pheng Xat Lao" was one of them, having been composed by Dr. Thongdy Sounthonevichit in 1941.[5] The song was chosen as the national anthem of Laos in 1945,[1] when the king was forced by the Japanese to declare Laos' independence from France. This newfound freedom was short-lived as France soon regained control of French Indochina.[3] Two years later, the French granted Laos limited autonomy within the French Union and "Pheng Xat Lao" once again became the national anthem.[6]

When the Pathet Lao emerged victorious in Laotian Civil War in 1975, the Communist government decided to change the lyrics to the anthem in order to reflect the ideology of the new regime.[7] As a result, the anthem became all-encompassing in mentioning all ethnic groups in Laos, instead of focussing solely on the Lao race and Buddhism. However, the music from the former anthem was retained.[8]

Original lyrics used in 1947[edit]

Lao Language Latin transcription English translation (Literal) English translation (singable)


Xat Lao thung thae derm ma,
Khun xu lu xa yu nai ahzi,
Sao Lao phouk pun maitri,
Huam samakkhi huk ho hôm gun.
Huk xat huk pathét hao,
Huk jao pôk két késa,
Hôm huk huam satsana,
Thae buhahn ma huksa din daen.
Baw hai xat dai ma luan,
Havi hôp kuan yat yaeng xing ao,
Phai khun khao ma loun vounvai,
Sou jôn thua tai tan than sattru,
Suay xeut xu leuat nua xua phao,
Feun fu ku ao banthao thouk gun.

In the old days, our Lao people
Were famous all over Asia.
Because the Lao
Were united in love.
Still today, they love their people and country
And rally around their leaders.
They preserve the religion of their fathers,
And protect the soil of their ancestors.
They will never allow another nation to threaten them
Or to occupy their territory.
Every enemy who enters their country
Will find them ready to fight until death.
All together, they can restore the ancient glory of their blood,
and they will stand together in the days of danger.

Once our Laotian race in Asia highly honored stood
And at that time the folk of Laos were united in love
Today they love their race and rally round their chiefs
They guard the land and the religion of their ancestors
They will resist each foe who may oppress them or invade
And such invaders will be met with battle unto death
They'll restore the fame of Laos and through ills united stand.


  1. ^ a b "Laos". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ juggapud (Imperialism) specific as France and America
  3. ^ a b "History of Laos". Lonely Planet. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ Raffin, Anne (2005). Youth Mobilization in Vichy Indochina and Its Legacies: 1940 to 1970. Lexington Books. pp. 137–38. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ Doedan, Matt (2007). Laos in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 69. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ Kutler, Stanley I., ed. (1996). "Laos". Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Retrieved May 9, 2013.  (subscription required)
  7. ^ Holt, John Clifford (2009). Spirits of the place: Buddhism and Lao religious culture. University of Hawaii Press. p. 133. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ St. John, Ronald Bruce (January 11, 2013). Revolution, Reform and Regionalism in Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Routledge. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 

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