Pheng Xat Lao
|English: National Anthem of Laos|
National anthem of Laos
|Lyrics||Sisana Sisane, 1975|
|Music||Thongdy Sounthonevichit, 1941|
"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.
|Official Lao||Latin transcription||English translation|
Xat Lao thung tae dai ma
For all time the Lao people
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.
As a direct result of this new liberalization, many patriotic songs were composed during this time. "Pheng Xat Lao" was one of them, having been composed by Dr. Thongdy Sounthonevichit in 1941. The song was chosen as the national anthem of Laos in 1945, 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. Two years later, the French granted Laos limited autonomy within the French Union and "Pheng Xat Lao" once again became the national anthem.
When the Pathet Lao emerged victorious in the 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. 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.
Original lyrics used in 1947
|Lao Language||Latin transcription||English translation (Literal)||English translation (singable)|
Xat Lao thung thae derm ma,
Lao Nation for ever have been
Once our Laotian race in Asia highly honored stood
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