Laos’ Independence Day is celebrated on July 19, marking the autonomy, or independence, from the French Union in 1949; This day is not to be confused with National Day on December 2, when the proclamation of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1975, is celebrated (confusingly sometimes also referred to as independence day).
Laos traces its history to the Kingdom which existed from the 14th to the 18th century, after which it split into three separate kingdoms. In 1893, Laos became a French protectorate. It briefly gained independence in 1945 after Japanese occupation, but returned to French rule until it was granted autonomy in 1949.
Laos became independent in 1953, with a constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong. Shortly after independence, a long civil war ended the monarchy, when the Communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975.
Expect to see plenty of flags, parades and speeches on independence day, but not a lot of public festivities.