Thailand hosts a number of different festivals throughout the year. Tourists flock from all over the world to see these. One of them is Bun Bang Fai. This is an annual rocket festival to mark the start of the crop growing season.
What is Bun Bang Fai?
Bun Bang Fai, or the Rocket Festival, is an ancient festival that takes place over a weekend in mid-May.
Celebrated in Northeastern Thailand and Laos, the biggest celebrations take place in Yasothon. Local farmers come together to launch homemade rockets into the sky. This involves a competition to see whose rocket stays in the sky the longest. Rockets that misfire are disqualified. The owner is then either thrown into a puddle of mud or covered in it entirely.
The festival also involves a weekend of celebration. People from the villages come together for parades, dancing, music and a fair.
History of Bun Bang Fai?
The festival is thought to have originated from Buddhist fertility rituals. These were held to celebrate the coming of the monsoon season. Bun Bang Fai also reflects some elements of Lao folklore. Taking place before planting season, locals see it as an excellent opportunity to have a good time before the hard work begins.
How is Bun Bang Fai celebrated today?
Taking place over a weekend in mid-May, visitors can catch a glimpse of parades across different villages in the country. The weekend sees several different rocket shootings but starts with the inaugural rocket, popularly known as Bang Fai.
Starting on Friday, locals pay their respects to the city’s pillar shrine, by bringing along their rockets.
Street parades, traditional dance, and live music start the second day of the festival. A Buddhist merry-making ceremony follows, with the locals bringing in their vibrantly decorated rockets. People compete in groups, with winners taking home prizes.
2022 Rocket Festival
The festival has been cancelled for the last two years due to the Covid restrictions. However, there is hope that Bun Bang Fai will be able to go ahead in 2022. Whilst it’s not yet been confirmed, potential dates are thought to be Friday 13 May-Monday 16 May.
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