Bun Bang Fai or Rocket Festival
The Bun Bang Fai Festival, commonly also known as Rocket Festival, held at the beginning of the rainy season, is an important ceremony for Isan villagers. Celebrated with dance, song, music and revelry and, of course the skyrockets, it serves to assure abundant rainfall to guarantee a good harvest and welfare of the villagers. It also helps to vent all the restricted feelings and one will be able to see Thais behave in a way society normally bans like fighting, drinking, and crude action with sexual undertones.
Usually it takes place between mid May and mid June but if the rain is late it might be postponed. As preparations involve at lot of work exactly at the time when villagers are busy with preparing the rice fields and planting rice, villages often join forces and hold the festival together in one village.
Nowadays the building of the rockets is no longer the sole task of the monks, being the one with the knowledge and time to do so. The competitions for the highest flight of a rocket are entered by laymen as well. While the pounding of the gun powder for the rockets in former times often was a task for the young girls in the village, giving them also an occasion for group flirting at night when the men come watching, it lost some of it original meaning when carried out at some ones home.
The rockets are no longer made of natural material. You see all sorts of plastic pipes filled with gun powder, but they are still carried through the village and get the blessing of the monks.
As often in Thailand, there is a legend about the rocket festival: Because rain god Wassakan not only was responsible for the rain but also loved fire, the villagers one day decided to take the fire up to the sky where he lives to please him and ask for enough rain.Share this: Twitter | StumbleUpon | Facebook | Delicious | digg | reddit | buzz