2022 Calendar Watch: Ring in the summertime rains with a blast at this year’s Rocket Festival

If you’re craving a pyrotechnic spectacle to fill the hole between Chinese New Year and the Fourth of July, then head northeast to Isaan in mid-May for “Boon Bang Fai” — the annual Rocket Festival. Here you’ll watch groups of tipsy farmers guzzle bottles of native brew and rice wine as they climb rickety bamboo scaffolding with giant projectiles slung across their backs, then hearth them off above green fields into the clear blue yonder.
An annual Thaiger favourite, the Rocket Festival takes place every year in mid-May in farming villages across Northeastern Thailand and Laos. The Boon Bang Fai of Yasothorn Province is considered one of the largest and most well-known of its kind in Isaan. Armed with loads of gunpowder, bamboo scaffolding and blue PVC pipe, ethnic Lao locals, a lot of them farmers, launch homemade rockets into the sky to mark the beginning of planting season and to hasten the annual monsoon rains.
Cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of Covid-19 restrictions, locals in Yasothon are desperate to bring it again with a blast. If it will get the green gentle from native authorities, this year’s fiery festivities promise to offer essentially the most bang in your buck, literally — as locals seek to unload their surplus of gunpowder and bamboo rocket tubes. Keep a tab on their Facebook page for additional bulletins concerning this year’s festivities.
The festival begins with events and parades on Friday, during which they flaunt their aerial innovations through the town. Lasting late into the night, the festivities additionally function loads of Isaan music, conventional magnificence pageants, special markets, and cultural dance performances and competitions. Of course, there’s additionally loads of alcohol, crude humour, phallic symbols and sexual innuendo, a vestige of its origins as a pre-Buddhism fertility festival.
The rocket launching competition begins on Saturday. The rockets are scored for his or her perceived distance and the great point about their smoke trails within the sky. It’s a supply of satisfaction to have the highest-soaring rocket, whereas losers of the competitors are thrown into a big mug pit for good-humoured humiliation and cheap leisure. The mud pits also serve as makeshift fire extinguishers within the occasion of an unexpected hearth or explosion. Rockets can reportedly reach six meters lengthy, exceed 100 kilos and soar for up to 5 minutes — if they even get off the bottom. In Bootleg , folks have died or been seriously injured because of failed rocket launches and explosions, so spectators are advised to look at from afar to stay secure.
Potential Dates: Friday, May thirteen – Monday, May 16, 2022

Getting There: It’s a seven-and-a-half-hour drive from Bangkok or a 1 hour 10-minute flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Roi Et Airport, then a brief bus experience to neighboring Yasothon province in Isaan (Northeast Thailand).
Keywords: Boon (บุญ): virtue; merit; good deeds Bang or bong (บั้ง): minimize off; minimize in stripes, as is bamboo Fai (ไฟ): fire; flame

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