Most people in Lao PDR would describe themselves as Buddhist, though for many of them animist rituals are also very important. Buddhism first appeared in Laos during the eighth century A.D. and was declared the state religion in the 14th century by King Fa Ngum. In general, the Buddhism practiced in Laos is Theravada Buddhism.

Religion in general and Buddhism specifically is an important part of daily life and has a strong influence on Lao society. Lao woman can be seen each morning giving alms to monks, earning merit to lessen the number of their reincarnations. Lao men are expected to become monks for at least a short time in their lives. Traditionally, every Lao man will spent three months during the rainy season in a wat (Buddhist temple). Nowadays most men curtail their stay to one or two weeks, or even just a few days.