Sky Rockets in Flight!
Yasothon Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
Bung Ban Fai is celebrated all over Thailand, but it's at its best in Yasothon. This little province is kinda a backwater for most of the year, but May 7-10 it's a huge party. The rocket festival is another celebration to bring on the rainy season- shooting rockets into the sky will help explode the clouds and make the rain fall down. Again, it's a matter of clever timing; by May the rainy season has already started or is just around the corner.
The rockets are built by businesses and families, so the city of Yasothon kinda shuts down for the days preceeding the finale events. The main drag of town is lined with stages to dance on or watch performances, there is a parade, there is copious amounts of drinking, there is a small carnival, and a handicrafts fair.
By May 10 everything has been dismantled and everyone has moved to the rocket field of the edge of town. Rocket festival indeed- every size and sound imaginable. From tons of kids with bottle rockets to the "official Thai" rocket (painted the same as the Thai flag)- there was a rocket going off at least every minute.
The big rockets are BIG. The Thai rocket was longer than a house and heavy enough to take 20 men to pull it into place. Igniting the rockets has some ceremonial aspects, plus some good luck rituals and last minute finagaling to help the rocket fly straight. If your rocket doesn't fly straight into the sky you have you sacrifice yourself to the earth gods by jumping into the mud pits and rolling around until you're good and filthy. (avoiding the mud people provided plenty of amusement)
Afternoon delights indeed! And, wouldn't you know it, the next day the rain poured like crazy...